THE CHIGI ALBANI PALACE
Built upon Cardinal Cristoforo Marduzzo’s express will – who entrusted architect Ottaviano Schirazzi from Perugia with the planning and operation management of the works of the whole structure – it was completed between 1564 and 1571. A big gate in peperino gives access to the structure delimiting an L-shaped court yard. The second section of the court yard which joins the two wards of the Palace includes architectural elements featuring the grand and majestic Fontain, covered in the recess by a loggia cloistered by an elegant architectural prospectus underneath a cylindrical tower. The right handside of the Fountain leads to the main area of the Palace initiated by Marduzzo, who however completed only the ground floor. But it wasn’t before the first half of the 18th century that the Albans, probably under the direction of the famous architect Luigi Vanvitelli, brought the construction works of the Palace to final completion. At the left handside of the Fountain stands the main building meant as the residence of the servitude or as horse barns, but being the first construction, it was originally used as royal residence. One of the environments at the ground floor, next to the basin with a central water jet, hosts an elegant Nymphaeum with sculptures carved in the living rock.
Connected to the Palace was a typical, monumental, Italian garden built upon two levels – today partially restored – accessed from the inside of the construction or through an upper passage facing the Largo della Guglia and entered through a monumental gate featuring baroque pillars, known as the “Iron Gate”. The back wing, whose access is granted directly from the inside, features other fountains and a quadrilateral pool leading to a huge park which used to encompass a large portion downstream of the current viale Cesare Battisti, where a former chapel already devoted to the Holy Cross and a farmhouse of the 18th century are now located (the so-called “Maisonnette”). The park also incorporated a vast area, today known as Via del Giardino – named after the gardens indeed – including the Garden Fountain resting on a cliff at the base of the hill of the Rock and an adjacent hunt and leisure building called “Casino degli Specchi”, also tracing back to the 18th century, built by the Albans. The park went far down until the Church of S. Maria del Poggio which still stands in front of an old building featuring the keys to the arches of two windows decorated by embossed heraldic stars.
THE PAPACQUA SOURCE
The Papacqua waters spring directly on site and the fountain is composed of different groups, shapes and decorations. The sculputures were directly carved out the existing rock. The central group depicts a gigantic female figure with goat feet and a satyr on her shoulder known to the local people as “la Mammoccia” surrounded by a group of children and a flock of sheep. A monumental bust of the Pan God together with a bagpiper, stand on the left. Facing the main entrance, along the entire perimeter, rises a very pictoresque group, of clear biblical inspiration representing Moses in the act of springing water from the rock for his followers to drink, surrounded by the Jews and a donkey. Inside side niches, one can admire four statues depicting the four Seasons together with numerous small mascarons gushing water jets, surrounding the yard. Particularly worth of notice is the Nynph enshrined in the adjacent grotto. The water, directed into a tunnel, pours down like a small cascade into a large pool at the foot of the hill where the Palace stands.