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.
Palazzo Ruspoli (Book 4) (Map B2) (Day 1) (View C6) (Rione Campo Marzio) and (Rione Colonna)
In this page:
In his views Giuseppe Vasi did not show scenes of the Roman carnival and of the race which took place in the afternoon along Via del Corso; this etching however shows that the
palaces along the street had special facilities for watching the race: scalino di Ruspoli was the name given to the high step on the Via del Corso side of Palazzo Ruspoli;
chairs were placed on it during the race; they were reserved to the Ruspoli and their guests or they
were rented to the many foreigners who came to Rome to see its carnival and not just its monuments and churches. Palazzo Ottoboni did not have a proper fašade along Via del Corso, but it had a long covered balcony which granted an excellent view of the race (read a description of the Roman carnival by Charles Dickens).
Palazzo Ruspoli has lost its scalino and its loggia has been modified, but overall it retains its late XVIth century design; in 1888 Palazzo Fiano Ottoboni was given a fašade along Via del Corso which has approximately the same height as Palazzo Ruspoli.
In 1544 Pope Paul III started the construction of Via Trinitatis (aka Via dei Condotti) which linked Porto di Ripetta with Platea Trinitatis, today's Piazza di Spagna; the street had the effect of favouring the urban development of the northern section of Via del Corso; the street was completed in 1550 and already by 1556 a rather large palace was erected at the corner between Via del Corso and Via dei Condotti. In 1583 the building was bought by Orazio Rucellai, a member of an important Florentine family; he commissioned Bartolomeo Ammannati, a famous Florentine architect, the enlargement and redesign of the palace which was completed in a few years.
In 1630 the palace was sold to the Caetani who made several changes to its internal layout and slightly modified the design of the northern fašade; in the XVIIIth century the palace was acquired by the Ruspoli who enlarged it along Via Condotti.
Palazzo Ruspoli is very near Palazzo Borghese (along Via dei Condotti); the Borghese placed their heraldic symbols everywhere on the exterior of the main palace and on the adjoining buildings and the Ruspoli decided to imitate them; two lamps are decorated with vines and grapes which appear in the Ruspoli coat of arms and are also a reference to their fiefdom of Vignanello (nice small vineyard).
The image used as background for this page shows a coat of arms of the Ruspoli and Cesi families in the courtyard of Palazzo Ruspoli.
Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina separates Palazzo Ruspoli from Palazzo Fiano which was initially built by the titular cardinals of that church. They gradually enlarged their residence and they eventually bought some houses on the other side of Via del Corso; they then built a covered passage above an ancient Roman arch to link their properties; the arch became known as Arco di Portogallo, because Jorge da Costa, from Portugal, was the titular cardinal of S. Lorenzo in Lucina between 1488 and 1508. In 1624 the complex of buildings was sold to Prince Michele Peretti, a relative of Pope Sixtus V, who commissioned the redesign of those behind the apse of S. Lorenzo in Lucina.
Pope Alexander VII Chigi took several actions to improve the central section of Via del Corso where he had his family palace; Arco di Portogallo was demolished because it narrowed the street; two reliefs which decorated the arch and which portrayed scenes associated with the death of Sabina, Emperor Hadrian's wife, were detached and added to the collections of Musei Capitolini.
Towards the end of the XVIIth century the Peretti properties on both sides of Via del Corso were bought by Marco Ottoboni, a relative of Pope Alexander VIII; he was Duke of Fiano and the palace adjoining S. Lorenzo in Lucina became known as Palazzo Fiano, whereas that on the other side of Via del Corso at the corner with Via della Vite was called Ottoboni Boncompagni because the only daughter of Marco Ottoboni married a Boncompagni.
In 13 BC the Senate decreed to consecrate an altar to Pax Augusta, i.e.
the peace resulting from the victorious campaigns of Emperor Augustus in Spain and Gaul; an annual sacrifice took place at the altar.
Streets of the Shopping District
Via Condotti was the main of a series of parallel streets between Via del Corso and Piazza di Spagna which made up the Strangers' Quarter of XVIIIth century Rome.
Via Borgognona was also called Via Rucellai because it started from the entrance to Palazzo Rucellai Ruspoli; its name is a reference to the fact that it ends opposite Casa dei Borgognoni.
Via Frattina was named after fratte (bushes), an indication of the rural condition of the area before its development in the late XVIth century; it starts opposite Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina and it ends in Piazza di Spagna near Colonna dell'Immacolata.
Via della Vite (vine) starts opposite Palazzo Fiano and it ends at Palazzo di Propaganda Fide; in the past it had a dubious reputation because the papal government authorized prostitutes to live and work there.
In the second half of the XIXth century travelling patterns changed in favour of railway; because Stazione Termini was located in a very different part of Rome the Strangers' Quarter lost most of its hotels and cafÚs; it then became a popular shopping district; in recent times some of its historical shops have been replaced by chain stores.
Palazzo Della Genga
This simple XVIth century palace was modified in 1612 when Pope Paul V Borghese
straightened the section of Via Condotti between his family palace and Via del Corso (this section is currently called Via di Fontanella Borghese).
The Della Genga family became famous in 1823 when Cardinal Annibale Della Genga, a strong advocate of reactionary policies, was elected Pope Leo XII.
Next plate in Book 4: Palazzo Borghese
Next step in Day 1 itinerary: Chiesa di S. Lorenzo in Lucina
You have completed your tour of Rione Campo Marzio!
Next step in your tour of Rione Colonna: Piazza Colonna