Palazzo Montecitorio (Italian pronunciation: [paˈlatt͡so
montetʃiˈtɔːrjo]) is a palace in
Rome and the seat of the Italian
Chamber of Deputies.
2 See also
4 External links
The palace's name derives from the slight hill on which it is built,
which was claimed to be the Mons Citatorius, the hill created in the
process of clearing the
Campus Martius in Roman times.
The building was originally designed by
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the
young Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, nephew of Pope Gregory XV. However,
with the death of Gregory XV by 1623, work stopped, and was not
restarted until the papacy of
Pope Innocent XII
Pope Innocent XII (Antonio Pignatelli),
when it was completed by the architect Carlo Fontana, who modified
Bernini's plan with the addition of a bell gable above the main
entrance. The building was designated for public and social functions
only, due to Innocent XII's firm antinepotism policies which were in
contrast to his predecessors.
In 1696 the Curia apostolica (papal law courts) was installed there.
Later it was home to the Governatorato di Roma (the city
administration during the papal period) and the police headquarters.
The excavated obelisk of the Solarium Augusti, now known as the
Obelisk of Montecitorio, was installed in front of the palace by Pius
VI in 1789.
With the Unification of
Italy in 1861 and the transfer of the capital
Rome in 1870, Montecitorio was seized by the Italian government and
chosen as the seat of the Chamber of Deputies, after consideration of
various possibilities. The former internal courtyard was roofed over
and converted into a semi-circular assembly room by Paolo Comotto. The
Chamber was inaugurated on 21 November 1871.
But the building proved wholly inadequate: the acoustics were
terrible, it was very cold in winter and very hot in summer. As a
result of extensive damage from water seepage, the palace was
condemned in 1900. An attempt to build a new palace for the Chamber of
Deputies on the Via Nazionale failed, and a provisional meeting hall
was built on the Via della Missione. Only in 1918 was the Chamber
definitively returned to the Palazzo Montecitorio.
The return of the Chamber of Deputies to the palace followed extensive
renovations, which left only the facade intact. The architect, Ernesto
Basile, was an exponent of Art nouveau, known in
Italy as the
"Liberty" style. He reduced the courtyard, demolished the wings and
rear of the palace, constructing a new structure dominated by four
red-brick and travertine towers at the corners. Basile also added the
so-called Transatlantico, the long and impressive salon which
surrounds the debating chamber and now acts as the informal centre of
The debating chamber is characterized by numerous decorations in the
Art Nouveau style: the impressive canopy of coloured glass (the work
of Giovanni Beltrami), the pictorial frieze entitled The Italian
People (by Giulio Aristide Sartorio) which surrounds the chamber, the
bronze figures flanking the presidential and government benches, and
the panels depicting The Glory of the Savoy Dynasty by Davide
Palazzo del Quirinale
Palazzo della Consulta
Palazzo di Giustizia
Montecitorio Panini by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, c. 1747
Square with the obelisk
Debating chamber of the chamber of deputies, designed by Ernesto
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Palazzo Montecitorio.
Very short history of the palace
Panoramic virtual tour of the Palace & the sundial obelisk