- Palazzo Muti
"The Palazzo Muti should not be confused with the
Palazzo Muti Papazzurriin the Piazza della Pilottawhich was designed by Mattia de' Rossiin 1660."
The Palazzo Muti (officially the Palazzo Muti e Santuario della Madonna dell' Archetto) is a large
townhousein the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, Italy, built in 1644. It originally formed part of a complex of adjoining palazzi and other houses owned by the Muti Papazzurrifamily. During the 18th century this entire range of buildings was the residence of the Stuart dynasty.
The Palazzo Muti stands on a street corner, and is constructed on four floors. The architect was
Mattia de Rossiwho had been commissioned to build a residence for Giovanni Battista Muti Papazzurri, a member of one of Rome's patrician families. The principal facade, today painted ochreand decorated only by quoining is of just three bays, with the main entrance to the palazzo, leading to an inner courtyard, at the centre on the ground floor. The size of the courtyard, dictated by the narrow rectangular dimensions of the palazzo is in reality little more than an open lightwell. The entrance itself is flanked by ionic columns, once surmounted by a Baroque pediment, this has since been replaced by a balcony. The architrave of the entrance has engraved upon it the name "Balestra", a family who once owned the palazzo.
The top floor is concealed from sight by a broad cornice. The top floor is architecturally interesting, although hidden from sight at street level its three windows are divided by double
pilasters. That such an architectural feature should be hidden insinuates that the whole facade may at one stage in its history been of a more ornate design than is apparent today. An 18th century drawing of the building (above) shows the top floor was originally lower and decorated in the Baroquestyle with statuary.
However, even it its severe design the façade betrays some internal secrets, the first floor is obviously a
piano nobile, as a hint of the importance of this floor is indicated on the exterior by, not only tall pedimented windows but also above them blind windows indicating the double height of the reception rooms behind them.
The house originally formed part of a complex of family properties which included two other palazzi and two more houses, one of the palazzi was the
Palazzo Muti Papazzurriwhich faces into the Piazza della Pilotta. [Jacobite Gazetteer]
Muti Papazzurri family
The Muti Papazzurri are
documented in Rome from 1435 when the will of Giovanni Paolo Muti mentions a casa complete with a toweron the site, and a painting from the early 17th century shows an older family house, with a large roof terrace, on the site of the present palazzo. In addition to their palazzi in Rome the family also owned In addition to this the family owned also owned a villa in the Province of ViterboThe Muti Papazurri became extinct with the death of Raffaele Muti Papazurri in 1816. The palazzo then passed through female descent into the family of the Marchese Livio Savorelli. [info.roma] The family name used during the 19th century was "Papazzurri Savorelli", at this time the family also owned the far larger Villa Aureliaon the Janiculum Hillin Rome (used by Garibaldi as his headquarters) which is now the American Academy in Rome.
The palazzo acquired its long and
religiousname "Palazzo Muti e Santuario della Madonna dell' Archetto" following an event in 1796 when a sacredimage of Madonna in a niche in the narrow alleyto the rear of the Palazzowas said to have moved her eyes, another version says she was weeping because the Papal Stateswere being invaded by France. ["Roma Segreta"] This phenomenawas acknowledged by a papaldecree in 1797. Thereafter the statue became known as "Madonna dell'Archetto". The image had been painted circa 1690 by Domenico Muratorifor the Marchesa Savorelli Papazzurri who lived at the Palazzo. [Roma Segreta] By 1850 the painting (sometimes called the "Mater Misericordiae" had overcome her distress at the invasion of the Vatican states and was now performing miracles involving divine intervention. The Madonna had become one of the most visited sites of the Virgin Mary in Rome, [Brumildi] as a result of this in 1850 the owners of the palazzo Count Alessandro and Countess Caterina Papazzurri Savorelli had the architect Virginio Vespignanibuild the neoclassical, domed "Church of the Madonna dell’Archetto" around the shrine. Today this is Rome's smallest functioning church.
The Muti Papazzurri are buried in Rome at the Church of
San Marcello al Corso, where there Baroque tombs and memorials still exist.
The Muti Papazzurri complex of residences was rented in its entirety at the expense of the Apostolic Camera from the
MarcheseGiovanni Battista Muti and his widowed mother the Marchesa Alesandra Millini Muti in 1719 for James Stuart and Maria Klementyna Sobieskaas their Roman residence. The Popes Clement XIand Innocent XIIIconsidered the couple to be the rightful and, more importantly, CatholicKing and Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland: the cousin of Pope Innocent XIII, Francesco Maria Conti, from Siena, was here the "Gentiluomo di Camera" (The chamberlaine) in the little roman jacobite court.
It remained, over two generations, the seat of the Stuart court-in-exile. It was the birthplace of James's two sons,
Charles Edward Stuart(or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie') in 1720 and Henry Benedict Stuart(later Cardinal, Duke of York) in 1725. James Stuart died in the Palazzo in 1766 and Charles in 1788. After Charles' death, the tenancy passed to Henry, the last of the Stuart pretenders, who died at the Palazzo in 1807.
Alternative names of the Palazzo
Palazzo Muti Papazzurriwhich once formed part of a complex of family palazzi with the Palazzo Muti.]
The various names given to the Palazzo can be confusing, especially as the Muti Papazzurri family built other residence bearing their name in Rome. The Palazzo is most often referred to by Romans simply as the "Palazzo Muti" or the "Palazzo Balestra", the Balestra being a family who lived in the palazzo for a time. The Balestra had their name carved on a keystone above the entrance. "" is Italian for
crossbow, and it is likely that the Balestra crest of a crossbow lent its name to the adjacent alley "via dell'Archetto" (Archetto being Italian for bow). Thus the connection to the Balestra appears in two differing names of the palazzo.
During and after its occupancy by the Stuart Family it has sometimes been referred to as the "Palazzo Stuart". This is given further weight by the existence of a large
tabletdocumenting the Stuart period of the palazzo. This tablet is situated in the corridor from the main entrance leading to the courtyard.
Today the palazzo is used as offices, the public are permitted to walk into the courtyard.
* [http://www.romeartlover.it/Vasi63.htm Abridged history of Rome] retrieved 13 February 2007
* [http://www.jacobite.ca/gazetteer/Rome/PalazzoBalestra.htm The Jacobite Gazetteer] retrieved 13 February 2007
* [http://www.info.roma.it/monumenti_dettaglio.asp?ID_schede=319 info.roma] it icon retrieved 13 February 2007
* [http://www.romasegreta.it/trevi/madonnadellarchetto.htm Roma Segreta] it icon retrieved 13 February 2007
* [http://www.gpo.gov/congress/senate/brumidi/Brumidi_2.pdf Brumildi] retrieved 13 February 2007
* [http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/images/jacobites/palazzo_muti.jpgImage of the Palazzo Muti]
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