Tradizione e Innovazione nella Tuscia Romana

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Il materiale originale in questa pagina è © Bruno Panunzi: la Redazione ringrazia la famiglia dell'autore per averne autorizzato la riproduzione, la rielaborazione, l'adattamento e la pubblicazione nel portale [Struttura della Redazione]


























"Bracciano's Castle – Impregnable fortress, magnificent palace" di Bruno Panunzi

















































Welcome to our portal!  Da "Italy Italy"

[Like a giant...]

[The construction of the castle was begun about 1470]

[An exceptional example of Early Renaissance]


Welcome to our portal!  Da "Italy Italy"

[Like a giant...]

[The construction of the castle was begun about 1470]

[An exceptional example of Early Renaissance]

[Pope Sixtus IV and Charles VIII of France]

[The castle besieged by the papal army led by Guidobaldo da Montefeltro and Juan Borgia]

[Isabella de’ Medici strangled in 1576]

[Vittoria Accoramboni a murder worthy of a Shakespearian tragedy]

[A visiting duchess of the powerful Sforza family]

[Pope Innocent X of the Pamphili family]

[Queen Christina of Sweden]

[In 1696 the Orsinis ceded the castle and town of Bracciano to the Odescalchi family]

[Toward the end of the 19th century, the Odescalchis began a series of restorations]


"Bracciano e gli Orsini – Tramonto di un progetto feudale"

"La breve 'stagione' di Juan Borgia tra Bracciano, Ostia e Roma"

"Il 'Palazzo fuori della Porta', municipio di Bracciano"

"Il cannocchiale conteso"

"Girolamo Gastaldi: il cardinale contro la peste"


Bruno Panunzi Una presentazione


Prima pagina del sito

Mappa del sito


Prima pagina del portale  

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Libro dei Visitatori


Welcome to our portal!  Da "Italy Italy"


















Il seguente articolo, sia nella sua versione originale in Italiano - purtroppo ad oggi non reperibile - e nella sua traduzione in Inglese, qui riproposta, viene originariamente pubblicato nella rivista "Italy Italy", anno V, 1987-1988, numero 10, alle pagine 8-13.



















[Like a giant...]





















Relating his impressions of the Orsini Castle in Bracciano, the 19th-century historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote in a romantic and admiring tone,


“The fortress looms like a giant, seeming to cast its shadow over all of Bracciano, as if beside it all else should disappear.


How regal the power of this family must have been to have built this marvelous palace, both impregnable fortress and luxurious residence, in a place so isolated and far removed from the world.”



Much earlier, in 1475, an envoy of the Este family, in a letter to his master, the duke of Ferrara, enthusiastically described the magnificent welcome that he and envoys from Milan and Florence had received from Gentil Virginio Orsini


“in his residence in the castle, which is beautiful and strong”.


The castle, conceived as a proud symbol of the power of the most important branch of the large Orsini clan, was just then being completed.






















[The construction of the castle was begun about 1470]





















The fortunes of the Orsini family one of Rome’s oldest, had taken a distinct turn for the better during the 13th century, when one of its members became Pope Celestine III and another was elected Senator of Rome.


The Orsinis actively supported the papacy against the attacks of the rival Colonna family and gradually acquired vast fields in the Lazio region, among them Bracciano, some twenty-five miles northwest of Rome.



The construction of the castle was begun about 1470 by Napoleone Orsini, known as


“a man of superlative splendor… who was equal in grandeur and magnificence to the renowned princes of his time”.


It was completed by his son, Gentil Virginio.


Both father and son were eminent military commanders who participated ably in the intricate political maneuvers of the end of the 15th century, allying themselves with the Medicis of Florence and the Aragonese rulers of Naples.




























[An exceptional example of Early Renaissance]






























An extraordinary example of an edifice serving both as a defensive construction and as a sumptuous Renaissance residence, the castle has two readily discernible architectural models, Palazzo Venezia in Rome, built by the Venetian cardinal Barbo, who was to become Pope Paul II, and the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, designed for Duke Federico da Montefeltro. Like Palazzo Venezia, the Orsini castle in Bracciano has a massive, impenetrable aspect, rectangular windows divided by simple crossbars and two-storey loggias on octagonal columns within the courtyard.


Like the superb palace in Urbino, which is unsurpassed for its spatial harmony and exquisite decorative detail, the castle of Bracciano has bright, airy halls and many finely sculpted details adorning chimneypieces and portals.



Gentil Virginio Orsini, however, lacked the broad vision that had made his friend Federico’s palace at Urbino a touchstone of Renaissance architecture.


The Orsini castle broke no new ground.


Rather, it was an exceptional example of Early Renaissance déjà vu.


Its tall, round towers are reminiscent of those of the Castel Nuovo in Naples, and there is a Tuscan elegance in the small loggia at the entrance to the main hall which can perhaps be attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini.