|THE PALACE - CHANGES THROUGH XVIII E XIX CENTURIES|
In 1744 Duke Giuseppe Sforza-Cesarini drew up a contract with skilled
workers to rebuild the Palazzo’s wing that overlooks Via dei Banchi
This part of the building had never been reconstructed after the collapse (or possibly demolition), occurring probably between 1583 and 1593, so the area over the main door “was used as an open balcony, adorned with vases of citrus fruits”.
The task of drawing the project and supervising the construction went to architect Pietro Passalacqua, who produced the model and calculated that the expenses amounted to 10,000 scudi, to be divided among the workers.
The contract did not provide for additional costs, meaning payment for any work not explicitly included in the agreement.
Passalacqua’s estimates turned out to be inadequate (although confirmed by the workers) so, during construction, he adopted measures in order to reduce costs, with no regards for the building’s stability.
Later, experts would confirm many defects of construction, with regard to quantity and quality of building material, as well as to the building’s proportions.
Archive research has revealed the work carried out in 1744 for the construction of the part overlooking Via dei Banchi Vecchi.
The manuscript, consisting of about 700 pages, is of extreme interest to determine the history of the Palazzo’s construction, and, more generally, to study building sites in XVIII century Rome.
Documentation of special interest is the recording of the lawsuit that, starting in 1749, involved Duke Sforza-Cesarini and the master builder for compensation of damages that occurred to the building once it was completed.
After Passalacqua’s death in 1748, the master builder became the person responsible for the yard.
The suit concerned verification of the works performed by the architect and the various workers in order to determine their responsibility for a work poorly done.
Hence, the importance of a detailed analysis of their respective duties and of their tasks during the construction works.
By studying those documents, moreover, it is possible to reconstruct the original “facies” on Via dei Banchi Vecchi, as well as the old floorplan that was altered, for structural reasons, in the restoration of 1781-1794, after the changes that were made in the XIX Century.
Through the description of wall paintings, we can determine the original color, a light blue for the background and a travertine marble tone for protrusions.
The two-color pattern was preserved when the building was painted again in 1792, with the light blue replaced by an “air color” which was also used to paint the facade on Piazza Sforza-Cesarini.
In 1866 it was painted again, in the travertine marble and brick red colors.
The doors and windows frames were also replaced, thus altering the original look of the facade.
Original windows probably consisted of a frame with parapet, small window panes, and shutters.
These were replaced during the 1781-1794 restoration with the present windows, with simpler components and jalousies instead of shutters.
The window pattern by the main gate would be more emphasized by an iron window sill on the second floor that was also replaced, later, with a masonry parapet that extended those under the other windows with no interruption.
The construction overlooking the courtyard brought about the demolition of the facade with the lodge and the back wall of the porch was used with the same function.
The restoration between 1781 and 1794 made structural improvements and carried out a decorative pattern that would be extended to the whole building after XVIII Century fashion.
Architect Giuseppe Subleyras oversaw the restoration works, that involved the demolition of the vaults on the first floor which were replaced by wooden ceilings, and a tbearing wall, parallel to the facade, was built.
Architect Francesco Parini settles the accounts related to the decorative cycle (he himself painted a trompe l’oeil, with architectural perspectives).
As Corso Vittorio Emanuele opened, the garden is sacrificed, together with the stables and the little Teatro del Pavone, and the wing previously overlooking the garden was rebuilt, which, with the new outer opening on the Corso, is part of the road scenario.
Correlatore Alberto Racheli