Saturday 7 May 2022

Palazzo Chigi Zondadari in Sienna opens to the public

Everyone visiting the main piazza of Sienna, especially during the Palio, will have seen, although perhaps not particularly noticed, the Palazzo Chigi Zondadari which is located on the higher side of the Piazza del Campo and provides the perfect view of the Palio. However, very few know that the interior of this palazzo is spectacularly decorated and furnished.

From 8 May 2022, the Palazzo Chigi Zondadari in Sienna opens to the public on a permanent basis.

Palazzo Chigi Zondadari in Siena

Palazzo Chigi Zondadari

The Palazzo was built for Cardinal Antonfelice Zondadari (1655 - 1737) and his brother Bonaventura (1652 - 1719), first Marquis Chigi Zondadari and founder of this aristocratic dynasty. The palazzo has been the Siennese residence of the family since 1724 and was the last palazzo to be constructed in the Piazza del Campo.

The Palazzo Chigi Zondadari is a typical baroque-neoclassical structure designed by Antonio Valeri (1648 - 1736), the last pupil of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was brought in from Rome to modernise and expand the pre-existing mediaeval buildings that were were purchased by the Chigi at end of the 17 C.

Bust of Pope Alexander VII by Bernini
Bust of Pope Alexander VII by Bernini

The palazzo is a linear structure, with five rows of windows, an internal courtyard and a splendid main staircase. The main floor is the most interesting. The halls and galleries have frescoed ceilings, house a collection works of art, archaeological finds, paintings and sculptures, among them a fine bust of Pope Alexander VII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and three rooms have their walls decorated in spectacular Venetian "corami" from the 1780s.

Salotto Rosso of the Palazzo Chigi Zondadari

Salotto Rosso of the Palazzo Chigi Zondadari

Among the renowned artists who worked on the palace were Placido Costanzi, a pupil of Francesco Trevisani, one of the most important artists who was a followers of Carlo Maratta and of Benedetto Luti. Cardinal Antonfelice Zondadari entrusted the execution of some frescoes depecting episodes from the life of Pope Alexander VII and Cardinal Zondadari to Placido Costanzi. Another painter who worked on the noble floor was Marco Benefial, a pupil of the Carraccesco Bonaventura Lamberti. Francesco Nenci who completed the decoration of the rooms during the 19 C.

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