All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in July 2009.
Piazza S. Marco (Book 2) (Map B3) (Day 1) (View C7) (Rione Pigna)
Piazza S. Marco was also called Piazza di Venezia, as St. Mark and Venice
were almost synonyms in the past, the former being the patron saint of the latter.
Today it is known as Piazza Venezia. The view is towards Piazza del Gesù
and it shows Palazzo Pamphilj (southern side) and Palazzo Altieri. Other views of Piazza S.
Marco are in Book 4 (Palazzo di S. Marco) and
in Book 9 (Palazzo dell'Accademia di Francia).
This side of Piazza Venezia looks unchanged, but it is the only part of the square which was not modified to make room for Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II and for the opening of Via dei Fori Imperiali.
The upper storey of Palazzo Venezia was modified by rearranging its windows in a symmetrical way.
The construction of Palazzo Venezia was started by Cardinal Pietro Barbo, nephew of Pope Eugenius IV after 1451 when he became the titular of Basilica di S. Marco; both the cardinal and his uncle were Venetians.
The palace was enlarged after Cardinal Pietro Barbo became Pope Paul II in 1464; the northern side of the building was completed by Cardinal Marco Barbo, a cousin of the pope, so the windows and the entrance on this side show his coat of arms rather than that of the pope. He had the titles of Patriarch of Aquileia, an ancient town in northern Italy, and of Cardinal of St. Mark (the basilica).
In 1564 Pope Pius IV presented part of the palace to the Republic of Venice as a residence for its ambassadors. Cohabitation between the ambassadors and the cardinals of St. Mark was not without frictions; in 1814 the whole palace was acquired by the Austrian Empire, which had annexed the Republic of Venice; it became the residence of the Austrian ambassadors until WWI, when it was confiscated. It now houses Museo di Palazzo Venezia and temporary exhibitions.
You may wish to see other lions of St. Mark in the Venetian Fortresses in Greece.
The southern side of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj was completed in 1743 by Paolo Amelj and it is one of the last additions to Baroque Rome. The palace has two other (more imposing) fašades: one next to S. Maria in Via Lata and another one opposite Collegio Romano. The Doria Pamphilj did not live on this side of the palace which was structured as flats for rent and this explains why the fašade is so crowded with windows and why there are not as many flying doves and fleurs-de-lys as on the other fašades.
This palace was designed by Camillo Arcucci in 1650 for the Gottifredi family. It was acquired in the XIXth century by the Grazioli who made major modifications to its interior and its rear fašade. The building was usually known as Palazzo della Gatta (cat) because of a small statue of a cat on its rear fašade. The statue was found in a nearby Temple of Isis and most likely it represented a monkey.
A few years ago the palace was rented by Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, Presidente del Consiglio (Prime Minister) of the Italian Republic between 2001 and 2006 and again after 2008. Since then newspapers and television stations have carefully avoided using the traditional name of the palace. Mr. Berlusconi prefers to live here, rather than in the modest apartment for the Prime Minister inside Palazzo Chigi. Sometimes political meetings are held in this palace; the Italian flag on the balcony is not an indication that the palace houses an institution of the Italian Republic, because public buildings (by law) display also the flag of the European Union.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page: