061.   Palazzo Pontificio sul Quirinale        

    Palazzo Pontificio
  1. Abitazzione della Famiglia Pontificia
  2. Torre della Guardia dei Suizzeri
  3. Palazzo della Sacra Consulta
  4. Scuderia, e Corpo di Guardia
  5. Strada Pia
  -. Piazza di Monte Cavallo con Font.
    Horse statues and obelisk in Piazza di Monte Cavallo

The original name of the Piazza Quirinale, and still in use during Vasi's day, was Monte Cavallo (horse hill). The term derived from the ancient statues of Castor and Pollux and their horses which were brought here from the ruins of the nearby Baths of Constantine, Plate 62, during the medieval period. Now called the Palazzo del Quirinale, this extensive complex was begun under Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85) as a papal summer residence built on the site of a villa belonging to the Este family on the western edge of the Quirinal hill. Sixtus V (1585-90) and Paul V (1605-21) extended it around a large courtyard whose asymmetrical entrance is seen with a procession of horses and carriage leaving the palazzo. The incongruous defensive tower (2) to the left of the portal was built for the Pope's Swiss guards, and acted as a hinge for the lower angled wing used as a residence for the Papal family (1) which has its own entrance from Via della Dataria into another, lower courtyard. Nolli labels this Cortile della Panateria, or panetteria (bakery). Extending from the right side of the palace is the beginning of the "Manica lunga" or long wing along the Strada Pia (5) the ancient Alta Semita, now called Via del Quirinale. The trees protruding above it belong to the enormous garden, Plate 192, partially enclosed by this wing, whose construction continued until the beginning of the 18th century under Clement XI (1700-21). On the right we see the 1734 facade of the Palazzo della Consulta (3) a papal law court designed by Fuga who also completed the papal Scuderie (4) or stables visible on the left edge of the print. Pius VI (1775-99) added an obelisk to the grouping, which entailed the shifting of the statues. The irregularly sloping piazza was leveled with a large terrace in 1866 under Pius IX (1846-78). After 1870, the Quirinal palace was the residence of the kings of the recently unified Italy. After World War II it became the seat of the President of the Italian republic.

Click here to view this plate in the Interactive Grand Tour.


Jim Tice, Erik Steiner, Allan Ceen, and Dennis Beyer
Department of Architecture and InfoGraphics Lab, Department of Geography, University of Oregon

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