Study reveals newly discovered architectural masterpiece contained in Rome's Palazzo Albertoni Spinola

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Study reveals newly discovered architectural masterpiece contained in Rome's Palazzo Albertoni Spinola
After years of observation and study, Architect Alex Rosman brings to light an exquisite perspective conceived by Giacomo Della Porta, set inside the Palazzetto of the iconic Roman Renaissance residence.

ROME.- The talent of Giacomo Della Porta still echoes in the heart of the Eternal City. Here – after more than four centuries after his death – his work continues to amaze, just as the recent discovery made in the Palazzetto inside Palazzo Albertoni Spinola, overlooking Piazza di Campitelli.

A structure, made up of two perfectly integrated buildings, quite singular right from its conception – one in which the touch of Girolamo Rainaldi, then assistant to the Maestro, was also involved in its development – so much so that it has been declared of historical and artistic interest by the Italian government little less than a century ago. It is here that Architect Alex Rosman during a redevelopment operation, commissioned by the property, was able to observe the special perspective between the plan of the building and the layout of the outside Square. In particular, Rosman’s observation underlines the exquisite visual link that flows from the Palazzetto towards the fašade of the famous Santa Maria in Campitelli Church.

Historically, Giacomo Della Porta worked on the construction of Palazzo Albertoni Spinola up until his death in 1602. It was then that Rainaldi completed Della Porta’s vision, realigning the fašade with the new layout of the outside Square. An integration that gave birth to a masterpiece of perspective allowing for an optic effect initially overlooked and, to this day, still unexplainable. In fact, by following the orthogonality of the entrance tunnel, then walking backwards towards the main doorway of the Palazzo, the entrance of the Santa Maria in Campitelli Church appears to shift sideways until perfectly aligned when reaching the threshold entrance of the Palazzetto. Another optic perspective relates to the roof garden which is visible from the entrance to the overpass on the first floor of the Palazzo Grande, even though it is hidden from the view, as it is the rear offshoot of the first floor of the Palazzetto and, therefore, far from the square.

The research, illustrated by Architect Alex Rosman during “The Great Perspective by Giacomo Della Porta” event held in one of the lounges of Palazzo Albertoni Spinola was organized to present the findings of Rosman’s observation to industry experts and the international media. Along with Rosman, Architect Gaia Rebecchini, responsible for the redevelopment operations of the Palazzetto; Matilde Bartolotta Cingolani, owner of the residence and State USA Inc. Family Office representative and organizer of the event, and Anthony Majanlahti, historian, author and expert on Roman Families, were also called to intervene.

Absolute highlight of the event, the genius of Giacomo della Porta, one of the most prolific architects and sculptors of Rome’s Renaissance period. An artist tied to numerous urban achievements during the last part of the XVI century and one to whom, in time, many anecdotes, curiosities and even a historic mystery – that of his involvement in the development of St. Peter’s Dome – were accredited.

Light was shed on the latter thanks to a plaque unveiled today, embedded in a specific point of the Dome - the top of the bronze sphere, facing east – which shows the name of Giacomo Della Porta attesting to his unmistakable role in the final development of the world famous symbol of Christianity. Based on what is historically known Della Porta developed the rest of the unfinished structure once Michelangelo died. He was also tasked with re-designing the overall project, because the original version would’ve most likely collapsed under the excessive weight of the Dome. Thanks to his intervention, the project finally gained momentum and St. Peter’s Dome was finally finished right when Della Porta began construction on the Palazzetto inside Palazzo Albertoni Spinola.

The photographic material shown today documents the effective existence of the plaque placed at the conclusion of the Basilica’s construction, where Della Porta himself engraved his own name and that of his son: JACOBUS A PORTA ARCHITECTVS / ALEXANDER EIVS FILIVS / PATRITII EQVITESQVE ROMANI 1593[1]. Such documentation was show to revive the value and timeless creative, artistic and cultural contribution that Giacomo Della Porta bequeathed to the city of Rome, as an eternal heritage of inspiration and originality.

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