Quirinal Hill

From Academic Kids

Missing image
An etching of the Hill, crowned by the mass of the Palazzo del Quirinale, from a series 'I Sette Colli di Roma antica e moderna published in 1827 by Luigi Rossini (1790 - 1857): his view, from the roof of the palazzo near the Trevi Fountain that now houes the Accademia di San Luca, substituted an imaginary foreground garden for the repetitious roofscape.

The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis Quirinalis) is one of the seven hills, at the north-east of ancient Rome. It is also the name of the official residence of the Italian Head of State, who resides in the Quirinal Palace.


In antiquity

Originally it was part of a group of hills that included Collis Latiaris, Mucialis (or Sanqualis), Salutaris. These are now lost due to buildings built in the 16th century and following.

According to Roman legend, The Quirinal Hill was the site of a small village of the Sabines, and king Titus Tatius would have lived there after the peace between Romans and Sabines. These Sabines had erected altars in the honour of their god Quirinus (naming the hill by this god).

Tombs have been discovered from the 8th–7th centuries B.C. that could confirm a likely presence of a Sabine settlement area; on the hill there was the tomb of Quirinus, that Lucius Papirius Cursor transfomed into a temple for his triumph after the third Samnite war. Some authors consider it possible that the cult of the Capitoline Triad (Jove, Minerva, Juno) could have been celebrated here well before than in Capitolinum. The sanctuary of Flora, an Osco-sabine goddess, was here too.

In 446 BC, a temple was dedicated on the Quirinal in the honour of Semo Sancus Dius Fidius, and it is possible that this temple was erected over the ruins of another temple. Augustus, too, ordered the building of a temple, dedicated to Mars.

Constantine ordered the erection of the last bath house of imperial Rome; this is now lost and only some drawings from the 16th century remain.

In the Middle Ages the Torre delle Milizie and the convent of St. Peter and Domenic were built, and above Constantine's building was erected the Palazzo Rospigliosi; the two famous statues of the Dioscuri with horses, which now are in the Quirinal's square, were originally in this Palazzo. In the same palazzo were also the two statues of river gods that Michelangelo moved to the steps of Palazzo Senatorio on the Capitoline Hill.

Palazzo del Quirinale

Missing image
A mid-18th century etching of the Palazzo del Quirinale by Giovanni Battista Piranesi: the colossal Roman "Horse Tamers" (Dioscuri) are in the foreground, but the obelisk from the Mausoleum of Augustus (erected 1781 - 1786) has not yet been set up between them.

The Quirinal Hill is today identified with the palazzo del Quirinale, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic and one of the symbols of the State.

The healthy cool air of the Quirinal attracted aristocrats and papal families who built villas. A visit to the villa of Cardinal Luigi d'Este in 1573 convinced Pope Gregory XIII to start the building of a summer residence the following year, in an area considered healthier than the Vatican Hill or Lateran: his architects were Flaminio Ponzio and Ottaviano Nonni, called Mascherino; under Pope Sixtus V works were continued by Domenico Fontana (the main facade on the Piazza) and Carlo Maderno, and by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Clement XII. Gardens were conceived by Maderno. In the 18th century, Ferdinando Fuga built the long wing called the Manica Lunga, which stretched 360 meters along via del Quirinale. In front lies the sloping Piazza del Quirinale where the pair of gigantic Roman marble "Horse Tamers" representing Castor and Pollux, found in the Baths of Constantine, were re-erected in 1588 (illustration, right). In Piranesi's view the vast open space is unpaved. The Palazzo del Quirinale was the residence of the popes until 1870, though Napoleon deported both Pius VI and Pius VII to France, and declared the Quirinale an imperial palace. When Rome was conquered for the kingdom of Italy; the Quirinale became the residence of the kings until 1946.

Today the Palazzo hosts the offices and the apartments of the Head of State, and in its long side along via XX Settembre (the so-called Manica Lunga), the apartments that were appositely arranged, decorated and furnished for each visit of foreign monarchs or equivalent authorities.

Several collections are in this Palazzo, among which tapestries, paintings, statues, old carriages (carrozze), watches, furniture, porcelains.

In Piranesi's view, the palazzo on the right hand is the Palazzo della Sacra Consulta, originally a villa built upon the ruins of the Baths of Constantine which was adapted by Sixtus V as a civil and criminal court. The present façade was built in 1732–34 by the architect Ferdinando Fuga on the orders of Pope Clement XII Corsini, whose coat-of-arms, trumpeted by two Fames, still surmounts the roofline balustrade, as in Piranesi's view. Formerly it housed Mussolini's ministry of colonial affairs.

See [1] (http://www.quirinale.it/palazzo/luoghi/arte_luoghi.htm) (in Italian).

Other monuments

The hill hosts several other important monuments:

  • The church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1658-1671), for Cardinal Camillo Pamphilij (nephew of Pope Innocent X), and is one of most elegant samples of baroque architecture in Rome, with its well known oval plan and its splendid interiors of marbles, stuccoes, gilt decorations).
  • The four fountains (Quattro Fontane) and Borromini's church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane [2] (http://www.greatbuildings.com/cgi-bin/gbi.cgi/S_Carlo_Alle_Quattro_Fonta.html/cid_2362724.gbi) (or San Carlino - originally Chiesa della Santissima Trinità e di San Carlo Borromeo), the first work of this architect and the last one: the façade was completed after his death.
  • Palazzo Volpi di Misurata, across from San Carlino.
  • Palazzo del Drago.
  • Palazzo Baracchini (now the Ministry of Defense).
  • The church of San Silvestro al Quirinale, which was described for the first time circa 1000, rebuilt in 16th century and restructured (façade) in 19th.
  • Villa Colonna (17th century), in front of Palazzo Rospigliosi, contains some remains of Caracalla's temple of Serapis
  • Palazzo della Consulta hosts today the Constitutional Court, supreme Italian magistrature, and was erected by Ferdinando Fuga for Pope Clement XII just in front of Palazzo del Quirinale.

External links

de:Quirinal it:Quirinale (colle)


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