Welcome in The Palazzo Chigi Saracini - Siena

Hans Bax

Gouda, Netherlands

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Artist's Description

From Friday, July 2 through Friday, July 9, my brother and I made a trip to Rome. Two nieces of us had made the same trip by bike and we would pick them up by car.

On our way to Rome, we also visited the beautiful city of Siena. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.

On this image the lighting in the entrance of The Palazzo Chigi Saracini. When I saw this lamp on the wall, I noticed the shadow on the wall looked like a cross.

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The palace that currently houses the Accademia Musicale Chigiana has a long, composite history.

Towards the middle of the twelfth century the noble Marescotti family built the tower that still stands at one end of the building; their emblem, an eagle with spread wings, overlooks the three-mullioned windows of the façade even now.

In 1506 the palace was purchased by one of the most important families of Siena, the Piccolomini Mandòli family, who undertook considerable modifications in its structure as well as in its decoration. The palace was thus given the Renaissance aspect that it continues to conserve in some parts (such as the courtyard and the upstairs loggia).

In 1770 the palace became the property of Marcantonio Saracini (and of his brother Bernardino), who began an important restructuring process brought to an end in 1824 by his son Galgano. The façade, although maintaining its original Gothic style, was considerably enlarged, stretching along the curve of the street; the interior was modernized, even if only partially, by Agostino Fantastici. He also designed the furnishings of a sumptuous bedroom. It was in this period that the palace was enriched with its imposing art collection.

In 1877 the Saracini family died out and the Chigi family, another one of the most important in Siena, inherited the palace, together with the entire estate and the Saracini family name. Fabio, the first of the new owners, died in 1907 during a hunting accident, leaving his nephew Guido as universal heir. It was Count Guido Chigi Saracini who commissioned the architect Arturo Viligiardi with the restoration of the building, which underwent a full-scale restructuring inside and out (notably the rococo style concert hall), which continues to characterize it today.

Count Guido was the last owner of Palazzo Chigi Saracini, which was his residence. Upon his death in 1965, it passed into the hands of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Foundation, founded by him, and to which it still belongs.

Siena, Italy – 4 July 2010

Camera: Canon Powershot SX1 IS

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Artwork Comments

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