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Palazzo Cesi

Palazzo Cesi

Among the fiefs and properties that the noble family Cesi acquired in Lazio and Umbria, the residence of Acquasparta stands out. Certainly  Palazzo Cesi was the most famous and important.

It was built in the town center. In 1540, Gian Giacomo Cesi and his wife Isabella of Alviano obtained the fief of Acquasparta from Pier Luigi Farnese, in exchange for that of Alviano. Ten years later the family decided that even if their home was already worthy, nevertheless they planned to enlarge it and transform it into a prestigious building. In 1561 the project was entrusted to the Florentine architect Guidetto Guidetti, later replaced by the Milanese Givan Domenico Bianchi.
Around 1579 the construction of the building ended, when Federico Cesi, a nephew of Gian Giacomo, married Olimpia Orsini.

In the first months of 1604, Federico retired within its walls, discouraged by his father's intolerant and unsympathetic attitude towards the activity of the Accademia dei Lincei. A few month before Federico had founded the Accademia with other friends.
Once the critical phase was over, the four founders, including Federico, gathered again in the rooms of the palace which, in 1618, became Federico's residence and the official seat of the Academy.
The quietness of the Umbrian countryside made the residence of the Cesi an ideal place for academic work and scientific research. In 1624 Galileo Galilei was also a guest in the palace of Acquasparta.
The building is accessible from the entrance hall leading to the ground floor rooms. From the porch, through a staircase, you reach the main floor. Here precious frescoes celebrate the illustrious origins and the great military virtues of the Cesi family. Beautiful coffered wood ceilings adorn the rooms. On the main floor, in the reception hall, the coffered ceiling is carved with figures of Hercules, trophies of arms and gargoyles.
Among the decorative paintings that illustrate the military exploits and the origins of the Cesi family, is the emblem of the Academy: the lynx surrounded by a laurel wreath.
On the ground floor the decoration of the rooms used for the Cesi's private lives draws on the rich mythological heritage, in particular by Ovid's Metamorphoses. All the decorations are considered among the greatest examples of Roman painting style in Umbria.


Bibliography
Martinelli Imbriani A. (1982), Contributo alla storia di Acquasparta, Roma, Edizioni Oddo.
T.C.I. (2004), Umbria, Milano, Touring Editore.

 

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