The Embassy of Switzerland in Italy is located in Rome in via Barbara Oriani 61,
in the prestigious estate of Villa Pisa (also known as “Il Monticello”), built to a project by Carlo Busiri Vici dating between 1922 and 1924 commissioned by Baron Alberto Fassini.
Located inside the Palazzo Pubblico, the Theatre has been used by the Academy of the Arrischianti since 1740. Although there is a record of an existing theatre in the 17th century, it is only in the 1700s that the hall is transformed into the classical “all’italiana” structure still visible today. Many adjustments followed later, the main ones by stucco worker Giannini.
The Chiusi Duomo, cathedral of San Secondiano, was built in the 6th century and altered in the 12th century; the isolated bell tower dates to 1585, and was erected over a Roman cistern of the 1st century BC. Important restoration works were carried out in the church between the 18th and 19th century, and later in the last quarter of the 19th century – the latter, under the direction of Giuseppe Partini, included also the remake of the facade and its earlier Romanesque prothyrum. Inside there is a fine altar piece by Bernardino Fungai.
Begun in 1691 by Giovan Battista Origoni, the construction of the church was continued by Andrea Pozzo and was finally concluded under Sebastiano Cipriani in 1712. A disciple of Andrea Pozzo, Evasio Colli, painted the trompe-l’œil inside the church, which also features stuccos on the walls and statues in stucco, by Francesco Notari and Bartolomeo Mazzuoli respectively. The paintings in the apse date to 1901 and are by Sallusto Tarugi.
Palazzo Contucci is to be found in Piazza Grande, opposite the City Hall and alongside the Cathedral and Palazzo Tarugi. Started in 1519 by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and commissioned by the Del Monte family (whose heraldic device is still visible on the right-hand corner of the building at first-floor level) it was probably completed by Baldassarre Peruzzi. The building rises above the remains of the earliest city walls, which explains the massive height of the back of the building.
The first floor grand hall, opening onto the piazza, was entirely frescoed by Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) in 1702. It is one of the few surviving examples of a profane cycle by the Jesuit from Trento, the undisputed master of Baroque illusionism.
The church, also known as the church of the Madonna delle Grazie, has a portico with three arches and a facade by Ippolito Scalza. The interior is decorated with 18th-century golden stuccos; noteworthy also are a glazed terracotta attributed to Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia, and a canvas by Bartolomeo Barbiani. The church also features an organ whose pipes are made of cypress, from between the 16th and the 17th in a finely engraved wooden structure from the 18th century.
The Church of the Madonna of San Biagio, also known as the Temple of San Biagio, stands all by itself, just outside the historic centre of Montepulciano. Built by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder(1455-1534) it has a Greek-cross plan, copying the basilica of Santa Maria in Carceri in Prato. Sangallo’s ambitious project was commissioned by Pope Leo X who had been taught by the great humanist scholar Agnolo Poliziano, also from Montepulciano.
Construction began in 1518, with the building being completed however only some years after the great architect’s death. The organ in the right-hand presbytery loft dates from 1781 and was built by Alamanno Contucci, Eleonora’s ancestor.
Palazzo Ricci was commissioned around 1535 by Cardinal Giovanni Maria Ricci, a member of one of the oldest noble families in Montepulciano, from the celebrated architect Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481-1536), It remained in their family until 1970, when it became the Montepulciano City Hall, and then 2001 it was made available, for thirty years, to the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, which has made it into the headquarters of its European Academy for Music and Art.
The ancient Abbey of Spineto was erected in 1085 as “Vallombrosana Abbey of the Holy Trinity of Spineto”; the Abbey was controlled by the Medicis between the 12th and 14th century. After 1830, abandoned by the religious order, the property passed to private owners: bought in 1989 by the Tagliapietra family, the Abbey estate underwent a long restoration process.
The Poliziano Theatre was built to a commission of the Academy of the Intrigati at the end of the 18th century; designed by Giuseppe Valentini, it was completed in 1796. Major modernizing works were undertaken by the architect Augusto Corbi together with the painter Rotellini and the decorator Franci; the last restoration project, financed by the City Hall, was carried out by architects Alberto and Giuseppe Samonà in 1980.
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