Ariccia and Bernini: a wonderful art joint
Everybody knows Palazzo Chigi, in Ariccia district. A few people know this enourmous building was made thanks to the efforts of Carlo Fontana and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, under Chigi family request. Its historical name, Ariccia, comes from the neighbourhood where it is situated, in the area of Castelli Romani.
Being the backstage of Piazza di Corte, designed by Bernini, the building completes the local architecture. Palazzo Chigi, designated to be a residence for local lords, was built in many phases.
The beginning of works is officially located during the XV century and the end in the XVII century. Its decorations and setting took place when Agostino and Mario Chigi decided to by Giulio Savelli’s property. As they considered it not enough decorated, asked Bernini to design the Collegiata and the square in front of it. Under Bernini’s supervision, fountains, objects, courses and new buildings were made.
The Torrione Nuovo was added lately, to be symmetrical to the most ancient wing of the building. You can still see pieces of furniture from the XVII century. There are many interesting paintings: Baciccio, Cavalier D’Arpino, Mario de’ Fiori, Pierfrancesco, Mola and so on.
There are also baroques sculptures, by Bernini, decorating the fascinating rooms, leather soft furnishings and Bernini console. Moreover, you can see neoclassic and 1600s frescos, by Liborio Coccetti, Annibale Angelini, Pietro Mulier, Nicola La Piccola and Giuseppe Cades.
The Sanguigna and the famous fresco by Raffaello Vanni
Among the most important works in Palazzo Chigi, there is the Sanguigna, by Bernini, that is a very emblematic work, representing Saint Joseph and baby Jesus.
The fresco, made to decorate the chapel, is unique. It is the only one work signed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, reporting the date of creation: 1663. In the chapel of Palazzo Chigi, you can also see “Gloria con San Francesco di Sales e San Tommaso da Villanova”, the fresco by Raffaello Vanni, on the front of the altar, almost unknown and absolutely unique.
Pietro Mulier collection
On the ground floor, you can see a decorative collection very peculiar. The apartment on the ground floor was cardinal Flavio I’s residence and he wanted to decorate it.
He commissioned the representation of birds and zodiac signs. The frescos are by Pietro Mulier, a not so famous artist, known as Il Tempesta. The whole collection represents is an allusion to agriculture and hunting, the favourite hobbies of the cardinal.
The neoclassic apartment
There is also the neoclassic apartment, from middle 1500s. It is by a group of artists, including Nicola La Piccola, Felice Giani, Giuseppe Cades, Giovanni Campovecchio, by prince Sigismondo commission.
The collection is inspired to the Orlando Furioso, the poem, and it is a precursor of Romantic art, being one of the most famous frescos of Palazzo Chigi.
The Chiesa Assunta
You can find other buildings representing the history of Italy around Palazzo Chigi, together with a breathtaking history and outstanding works. One of them is Chiesa dell’Assunta, where Pope Alessandro VII lived, transforming it in what you can see today, thanks to Bernini’s touch.
The design idea of the church is the same the Pantheon has, as it is similar to it, indeed. Near the church, there are other two important buildings: the Casino del Ministro and Casino del Governatore, connected to the religious building.
Visiting Palazzo Chigi, you can see the famous Locanda Martorelli, where there are some paintings by the famous Polish painter Taddeo Kuntze. They represent Ariccia’s history and its mythological past. You can admire La Tentazione di Ippolito, La Morte di Ippolito, Il Sacrificio a Diana, La Caccia di Diana, La Morte di Turno Edornio, La Ninfa Egeria, Numa Pompilio and La Battaglia del Lago Regillo.
At the beginning, it was a stately home, then a locanda visited by painters, writers and poets. Between the end of XIX and the beginning of the XX century, Locanda Martorelli became the Accademia di Pitturai, at the open air, where the most famous painters used to spend their time painting: Ivanon, Corot and Turner appreciated the beautiful nature you can see from there.
There are a lot of archaeological rests in the area, too. The remains of Villa dell’Imperatore Vitellio tell us there was a big city with forums, thermal baths and temples there.
There was the Temple of Diana. Nowadays, you can see the remains of the tanks around the house that was very big.
Chigi collection and Museo del Barocco
If you want to discover the whole beauty of Palazzo Chigi, you can’t miss Collezione Chigi, a collection of works open to the public. It is on the Piano Nobile and on the ground floor, in the apartment of cardinal Falvio Chigi. It includes lots of works from the XVII century, property of the Chigi’s family.
The Museo del Barocco Romano includes some paintings made between the XVII and XVIII century. It is situated in the west wing of the building and the works you see are presents by various collectors. There are many artist’s works and the collections you can see there are: Ferrari, Fagiolo, Lemme, Lasche and so on.