All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in August 2010.
S. Marco della Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (Book
B3) (Day 1) (View C7) (Rione Pigna), (Rione Campitelli)
and (Rione Trevi)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Palazzo S. Marco (Palazzo Venezia)
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
Palazzo Bolognetti (Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali)
The Plate (No. 65)
Giuseppe Vasi dedicated two etchings to Palazzo S. Marco (or Palazzo Venezia), but in both he did not show the building in its entirety; in the view covering Piazza S. Marco he showed the wing of the palace to the right of the entrance, in this one that to its left, which is the oldest one.
The focus of the view is on Palazzetto Venezia and on the tower built by Pope Paul III Farnese on the Campidoglio hill; the bell tower of Palazzo Senatorio can be seen behind Palazzetto Venezia.
The view is taken from the green dot in the small 1748 (b/w) map here below.
In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Palazzo Bolognetti;
2) Torre sul Campidoglio;
3) Strada di Macel de' Corvi;
4) Palazzetto Venezia;
5) Cappella della Beata Vergine. 3), and 4) are shown in other pages. The small map shows also 6) Palazzo Venezia; the dotted line in the map delineates
the borders between Rione Pigna (top left quarter), Rione Trevi (top right quarter), Rione Campitelli (lower left quarter) and Rione Monti (lower right quarter). The coloured map shows the same area in 1925.
The view in August 2010
Changes have been quite dramatic; the size of the square is four times what it used to be and it incorporates the area of Palazzetto Venezia which
was pulled down in 1885-88; it was rebuilt near Basilica di S.
Marco; Cappella della Beata Vergine, the chapel mentioned in the plate, was rebuilt inside Palazzo Venezia.
The view in August 2010 from Via dei Fori Imperiali
(the palace with the covered balcony is Palazzo d'Aste)
In 1900 Palazzo Bolognetti was pulled down and it was replaced by Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali which was built in a rear position.
The entire northern side of the Campidoglio hill was redesigned to make room for a gigantic monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of Italy; Pope Paul III's tower and a major part of Convento di S. Maria in Aracoeli were pulled down.
In 1931-33, the opening of Via dei Fori Imperiali led to the demolition of the remaining medieval buildings on the left side of Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.
Fašade; the original fašade had four windows on each side of the entrance; the first two windows on the left (below the tower) are modern; they were opened when Palazzetto Venezia was pulled down
The construction of Palazzo Venezia was started by Cardinal Pietro Barbo, nephew of Pope Eugenius IV; he was titular cardinal of Basilica di S. Marco and at that time many cardinals used to live near the church they patronized.
In 1464 Cardinal Barbo became Pope Paul II and he decided to continue to live in the palace; he then
started its enlargement to upgrade it to a level suitable for a pope; the square in front of the building was embellished with two large basins
of Egyptian granite from Terme di Caracalla (they were relocated to Piazza Farnese
in the XVIth century).
(left) Entrance; (centre) balcony; (right) courtyard
At the time of Pope Paul II carnival was celebrated with various events including horse races at Monte Testaccio; the pope moved the races to Via Lata and he set
their arrival point in front of his palace; this decision had a great influence on the development
of the area, which was rather peripheral; Via Lata became known as Via del Corso
(It. corsa means race) and many important families built their palaces along the street to watch the races and the other events of the
Roman carnival (read Charles Dickens description of the Roman carnival a few years before the races were abolished).
Palazzo Venezia continued to be a papal residence until 1564 when Pope Pius IV presented a part of the palace
to the Republic of Venice, because Pope Paul II was of Venetian origin;
one section of the building became the residence of the Venetian ambassadors, the other one that of the titular cardinals of the adjoining basilica.
(left-above) Coat of arms and inscription stating that in 1455 Cardinal Pietro Balbo started the construction of the palace; (right-above) detail of a window with the name of the pope; (left-below) papal coat of arms above the entrance; (right-below) Venetian winged lion with a paw above an Ottoman crescent moon
With the 1797 fall of the Republic of Venice, Palazzo Venezia became a property of the Austrian Empire and the residence of its ambassadors; in 1916 during WWI it was confiscated and in 1929 it became the office of Benito Mussolini, the then
Prime Minister; he used to make his speeches from the small balcony above the entrance.
Today the palace houses temporary exhibitions and a
permanent museum of small objects.
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria)
After the 1870 annexation of Rome to the Kingdom of Italy, the new government decided that la Terza Roma (*) should be developed in the area surrounding Stazione Termini, the Central Railway Station; Via Nazionale, a new street which started near
S. Maria degli Angeli was opened to link that area with the rest of the city. In 1882 the commission in charge of selecting a project for a monument to King Victor Emmanuel II, decided to build it at the beginning of Via Nazionale.
This location would not have interfered with the urban layout of the centre of Rome,
but the decision was reversed and it was decided to show a visible sign of the new historical phase in the very heart of Papal Rome: Piazza Venezia.
(*) Terza Roma (the third Rome) was the name given to Rome in many poems
celebrating il Risorgimento (the historical process which led to the Unification of Italy); the assumption behind this appellation is that Ancient Rome was the first and Renaissance Rome the second
(in world history Second Rome and Third Rome are used
with reference to Constantinople and Moscow).
The monument was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi; the construction started in 1885 and the monument was inaugurated in 1911 on the 50th anniversary of the Italian Kingdom; a
lobbying activity by Giuseppe Zanardelli, a politician from Brescia, led to the use of botticino, a very white stone which was mined in Zanardelli's constituency;
because of this choice and of its excessive size the monument is generally regarded as an eyesore in the Roman context; it stands out in all views of Rome with the exception of that
from its top terrace.
(left) Bronze statue of the king by Emilio Chiaradia; (right) statue of Rome by Angelo Zanelli
King Victor Emmanuel II was buried inside the Pantheon and when the monument to him was completed it was decided not to transfer his body there; in 1921 the monument became the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and because of this it acquired a new significance;
the most important public ceremonies include laying a laurel wreath at the tomb; in official statements the building is now called Altare della Patria.
May 15, 2006: the first act of Mr. Giorgio Napolitano, as newly appointed President of the Italian Republic, was to lay a
laurel wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
delle Assicurazioni Generali
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali and to its right S. Maria di Loreto, (inset) Venetian winged lion from Padua (this site has also a section on
Venetian winged lions in Greece)
Palazzo Bolognetti was designed by Carlo Fontana in 1680; in 1807 it was bought by the Torlonia who lavishly redecorated its interior; it was pulled down in 1900.
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was completed in 1907; it is similar to Palazzo Venezia in size and shape;
it was designed by Eugenio Geiringer from Trieste.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Da' Signori Biganzini fu edificato questo palazzo col disegno del Cav. Antonio Canavari
vari Romano; ma poi essendo stato comprato dal Conte Bolognetti, lo ha ultimamente cresciuto
il doppio, per˛ dalla parte posteriore verso la piazza de' ss. Apostoli, col disegno di
Palazzo di Venezia
La spaziosa piazza in cui termina la strada del Corso, prese il nome dal grandissimo
palazzo, che in essa si vede della serenissima Repubblica di Venezia. Fu questo eretto da
Paolo II. col disegno mezzo gotico di Giuliano da Majano, e prima che fosse fatto quello sul
Quirinale, vi abitarono i Papi in tempo di estate, ed ancora Carlo VIII. Re di Francia
quando venne a Roma. Pio IV. Per˛ lo concedŔ a quella Repubblica per residenza de' Suoi
Ambasciatori, i quali vi hanno fatto de' riattamenti, specialmente nelle logge del giardino
pensile. Della chiesa di s. Marco, che Ŕ unita a questo palazzo, perchŔ corrisponde
dall'altra parte, ne discorreremo nella seguente giornata, e per˛ proseguendo il nostro
cammino, a destra del palazzo d'Asti osserveremo il terzo
Next plate in Book 4: Palazzo Panfilio (North side)
Next step in Day 1 itinerary: Palazzo Panfilio
Next step in tour of Rione Pigna: Chiesa di S. Marco
You have completed your tour of Rione Trevi!