Palazzo Cornaro

Rome, near Trevi Fountain


Cardinal Alvise Cornaro
(G-2), one of eight Cardinals produced by the Cornaro family, commissioned Giacomo del Duca to design PALAZZO CORNARO to serve as headquarters for the Cornaro family in Rome. The palace, near the Trevi Fountain, was erected in the 1580s on adjacent parcels acquired in 1579 and 1582. In Grand in Design, The Life and Career of Federico Cornaro (Venice, 2001), William L. Barcham notes (p. 48) that the palace is in a "typically late mannerist style redolent of post-Michaelangelesque taste."

Giacomo del Duca (c. 1520-1604), a native of Sicily, was also designed the nearby Oratory of S. Maria in Trivio.

The palace later served as the residence of a Cornaro family cardinal, Cardinal Patriarch Federico Cornaro. After a period in which it was rented to various others (including Cardinal Mazarin of France, 1640-1), the palace was sold by the family in 1647 to Donna Olimpia, then acquired by the della Rovere family and passed to the Duke of Urbino, nephew of Pope Julius II. Clement VIII subsequently purchased the palace and it was inherited by his niece and heir Olimpia Pamphili, the wife of Camillo Pamphili and sister-in-law of Innocent X [Giovanni Battista Pamphili].

The building was later re-worked and enlarged by the Chigi family, then occupied by the Austrian Ambassador to Italy. The Italian government acquired the palace, 1917, to house the Ministries of Colonies and Foreign Affairs. Since 1960 the property, now known as Chigi Palace, has been the residence of the Prime Minister of Italy.


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