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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in November 2010.

Casino al Pigneto del Marchese Sacchetti (Book 10) (Day 8) (View C1)

In this page:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 Pineta Sacchetti
 Monte dei Ciocci (Ciocchi)

The Plate (No. 183)

This 1760 etching by Giuseppe Vasi shows the first architectural work (1625-30) by Pietro da Cortona; the view was based on a drawing by the architect because when Vasi visited the site the roofs had collapsed, the staircases were barely identifiable in the rubble and the fountains were dry; Vasi added to the etching a technical drawing of the main fountain.
Pigneto means pinewood and the etching shows the casino surrounded by pine trees; its location was rather remote, at the end of Valle dell'Inferno, a depression between the Vatican and Monte Mario; its name means Hell's Valley, but it is a corruption of vallis infera (low valley).
The small late XIXth century map below shows; 1) site of Casino Sacchetti; 2) Monte dei Ciocci; 3)
S. Pietro; 4) Villa Mellini (Monte Mario).


View from the dome of S. Pietro in July 2010: in the foreground the
Vatican Gardens and the broadcasting equipment of the Vatican Radio: 1) Monte dei Ciocci; 2) Valle dell'Inferno; 3) site of the Sacchetti property

The development of modern Rome has not completely obliterated the countryside aspect of the area between the Vatican and the site of the former Casino Sacchetti; the ruins of the building were removed after 1861 when the property was bought by the Torlonia.

Pineta Sacchetti

Casali Torlonia

The Casino was commissioned by Giulio Sacchetti at the time of his appointment as cardinal as the possession of a countryside villa was regarded as necessary for a man in his new position; he also bought
the palace named after him in via Giulia; this building had a garden along the river which was decorated with fountains in 1660; it is possible that the family lost interest in their remote villa and preferred to entertain their guests in the city palace. It seems that the casino was completely abandoned after the death in 1705 of Cardinal Urbano Sacchetti, nephew of Giulio.
In 1861 the vast property was bought by the Torlonia, who almost surrounded urban Rome with their possessions; they restored and placed their coats of arms on two existing buildings; one of them is falling apart, while the other was in recent years turned into the public library of a modern neighbourhood.

(above) View towards S. Pietro; (below) view towards Monte Mario (in the inset enlargement showing Villa Mellini)

Monte dei Ciocci

Monte dei Ciocci seen from
Museo Pio-Clementino: (left) Casale Ciocci; (right) Villa Bini - Les Aigles

The name of this small hill and of Casale Ciocci, a former farmhouse, are a corruption of Ciocchi (It. chi = kee; It. ci = tchee) del Monte, the family of Pope Julius III to whom the area belonged in the XVIIth century; the hill was spared intensive development because it houses an agricultural high school.

Monte dei Ciocci seen from Villa Medici (courtesy Marie Engel)

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Casino Sacchetti
╚ vero, che troppo lungo Ŕ il cammino per trovare le rovine di questo magnifico casino eretto dal Card. Giulio Sacchetti, ma essendo stato questo il primo disegno di architettura, che abbia fatto Pietro da Cortona, merita l'incomodo d'andare a vederlo, ancorchŔ sia quasi rovinato. Si ravvisa da quel poco, che vi Ŕ rimasto del prospetto, quale sia stato, e sotto il riposo di alcune scale si vede per˛ ben conservato un fonte ornato di colonne doriche, disposte a guisa di portico sferico, come ne riportai la pianta.

Next plate in Book 10: Villa Madama fuori Porta Angelica

Next step in Day 8 itinerary: Chiesa di S. Maria del Rosario