Quirinal Palace: If everyone is ready, let the dance begin!
by Andira Vitale
The politicians will do their masked dance practice for the last time on Sunday. They will exhibit their skills in public at the Grand Ball Festival, which will start on January 24. Like the quest for a princess in Cinderella, various names, measures, and attributes have been put forward for the new owner of the Quirinal Palace for days. Candidates, who did not announce their candidacy, were showcased. The goal of the dance: Italy, which has had hard times in recent years due to Corona but entered a period of relaxation, continues on its way with a new name without causing political turmoil and chaos in the country… Will the name of the dance be love of the country? Political interests? We will see this when the ball is over… But where will live the president? Let’s get to know this attractive palace that has been dreaming of candidates for days.
In ancient times the Quirinale was the Collis par excellence and the individual peaks that stood out were also called Collis. The name Quirinale, therefore, ended up indicating the entire hill which was actually divided into four heights: Collis Latiaris, Collis Mucialis or Sanqualis, Collis Salutaris and Collis Quirinalis. The Quirinale Collis had great strategic importance and was firmly fortified since the earliest age.
Quirinale has been a center of attraction for settlements, public and religious buildings since ancient times, due to its high position and especially its health. We can think of this process as 400 BC. The Goddess Salute temple, where consolation ceremonies are celebrated for the welfare of God Quirinus and the state, is also located on this hill. We can count the baths of Constantine and the Temple of Serapis, built by Caracalla in 217 AD. among the most impressive sections on the hill. The Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the President, is located at the eastern end of the hill where the temple of Quirinus and the gate in the Servian walls were located during the ancient Roman period. Today, the palace continues to dominate the city from the hill from which it takes its name.
The Quirinal Palace was born at the end of 1500 as the summer residence of Pope Gregory XIII, who wanted a place of rest that was healthier than the unhealthy Vatican or Lateran hill. In 1587 Pope Sixtus V had the land where the palace stood and only then decided to expand the building from the Papal State. The works ended with Pope Paul V. Pope Urban VIII made a new expansion and added the new land he had bought in the surrounding area, enlarging the palace to the east. The garden was almost doubled and the pope had a large surrounding wall built. which few remains remain. In the second half of the 1600s, Gian Lorenzo Bernini also took part in new expansion works. But after 1870 with the end of the temporal power of the popes and the breach of Porta Pia, the Quirinal palace became the residence of the Savoy. Pius IX was the last pope who lived here. In 1947 it became the residence of the President of the Republic, with related apartments and offices, but the first two Italian presidents lived elsewhere.
In the administrative-territorial arrangement of the Augustan period, the Quirinal hill was included in District 6. The neighbourhood has been an aristocratic residential area since the Republican era. It preserved this feature in the imperial age as well; This was the address of important names of the period such as Cicero, Gens Flavia and Claudis.
On the square, the imposing Monte Cavallo fountain stands out with the two giants representing Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri. The statues came from the Baths of Constantine and are two Roman copies of Greek originals. The obelisk instead comes from the Mausoleum of Augustus. The fountain was created in 1818 and the statues, which first looked towards the Palazzo Consulta, were oriented towards that of the Quirinale.
The Pope wanted to use a sacred-themed painting to remind guests that they receive the pope’s blessing when they visit the palace. In accordance with this request, there is an original fresco by Melozzo da Forliche, which adorns the apse of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Rome, on the Staircase of Honor, inside the Palazzo. Now, this artifact, located on the landing, can be seen by those leaving the palace.
The building, which has a historical and artistic background, houses numerous art collections of all kinds: from paintings to statues, murals, clocks, tapestries, from furniture to porcelain, all objects are historical artefacts. If we add to these Murano glass chandeliers and carriages! Another jewel of the Quirinale is the gardens of the dream island. As you enter gardens that develop and become more beautiful with each owner, you move away from this world and step into another world. Get lost in labyrinthine gardens with pools, statues, tiny waterfalls and all kinds of plants and flowers.
Just across the square is the Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale (Palace of the Quirinal Stables), one of the capital’s most beautiful and famous buildings. The architect of this work, which dates back to 1700, is Ferdinando Fuga, who has his signature on the leading buildings of Rome and Naples. As the name suggests, it was used as a shelter for horses until 1938. After 1938, the means of transportation were changed and turned into a garage. Architect Friulian Gae Aulenti created the exhibition space here, which combines modern ideas with the old spaces of the building.
The new guest of the palace, which has such historical and artistic value, will be announced next week. Continue with President Mattarella? We know that he is’nt very passionate. But who knows? Prime Minister Mario Draghi gave a very successful performance in the government. Under his rule, Italy was named the best developing country of 2021. Economic and political circles have praised Draghi. It was reflected behind the scenes that he wanted to be president. The fact that the world of politics will be redesigned if he goes to the palace is a critical decision for everyone. What will Berlusconi do who has not received positive signals so far? We will see them all at the election party which starts on January 24th.