MIDDLE AGES: MODERN AGE:
ROMAN EMPIRE: TEMPORAL POLITICAL
FORUM POWER POWER
IL FORO ROMANO
The Forum Romanum (although
the Romans often referred to it
as the Forum Magnum or just the
Forum) was located in the valley
between the Palatine and the
Capitoline Hill and was the
commercial, religious and
political center of the city.
The Comizio (Latin Comitium) was the political center of
Rome, located in the Roman Forum. There were held the
oldest citizens' assemblies. There are few visible
remains after the Caesarian and Augustan
transformations that almost destroyed it. In the past it
occupied the northeastern corner of the Forum,
between the Basilica Emilia, the Arch of Septimius
Severus, and the Forum of Caesar. Caesar used most of
it to build the new Curia.
The term curia at the
beginning of the
monarchy indicated a
division of Roman
population (that is the
tribes that made up
society). It was later
used to signify the
place where the tribes
gathered to discuss
state affairs. The word
comes from the Latin
"co-viria", that literally
means "together or
assembly of men. "
The Rostra (rostrum in Latin) were a platforma in the Roman
Forum from which judges held their orations. The name
derived from the prows of enemy ships (rostrum note) torn off
by the Romans during the victorious battle of Anzio and
placed there in 338 BC. Speakers would stand on the rostra
and face the north side of the comitium towards the senate
house. The Republicans Rostra remained in use until they
were demolished to make way for Caesar’s Forum .
LATERAN QUIRINAL APOSTOLIC
Palace PALACE PALACE
The Lateran Palace, built by Patriarch Constantine, is an ancient
building whose history dates back to Imperial Rome. It was the
official residence of the Roman pontiff for more than a thousand
years. It is next to the Basilica of ST John of Lateran, the cathedral
of Rome, and it contains the Holy See or Cathedra Romana. Sixtus V
ordered to destroy the remains of the ancient palace and built a
much smaller palace than the present building, designed by
Domenico Fontana, who was inspired by Palazzo Farnese.
The rebuilt Lateran Palace was used as the papal
summer residence since 1586 . Until the 19th
century popes were crowned in the Basilica of St
John of Lateran. The Lateran Palace now houses
the Historical Museum of the Papal States, the
offices of Rome Vicariate and the apartments of
Rome Cardinal Vicar.
PALACE OF QUIRINALE
In 1583 Pope Gregory XIII began to build a summer residence in
an area considered healthier than the Vatican Hill. It was
entrusted to architect Ottaviano Mascarino. Works were
completed in 1585. The Pope’s death prevented Mascarino to
start a second project involving the expansion of the building.
The house built by Mascarino is still recognizable in the north courtyard,
featuring a front double loggia, surmounted by the tower now known as the
Tower of the Winds, erected after the construction of the bell tower on drafts
by Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini. Ottaviano Mascarino's building
was built on land still belonging to the family Carafa d'Este, which thought
the Pope would leave the palace. Thus Pope Sixtus V, in 1587, purchased the
land from the Apostolic Chamber and only then started to expand the building
hiring Domenico Fontana, who totally remodeled the area with the
construction of the Street Pia and Street Felice and the crossing of the
Quattro Fontane. Quirinale thus became the "private" residence of the
The Palazzo of Quirinale was the Pope's residence
until 1870, when Rome was conquered by the
Kingdom of Italy, then it became the residence of
Italian kings until 1946. The last pope to inhabit the
Quirinale was Pius IX.
SANT’ANGELO SAINT PETER’S
Castel Sant'Angelo (or Mausoleum of Hadrian) is a Roman
monument on the right bank of the Tiber, opposite the pons
Aelius (Sant'Angelo bridge) which radically changed in the
Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Started in 125 by Emperor
Hadrian as his mausoleum and inspired by the mausoleum of
Augustus, it was completed by Antoninus Pius in 139.
The castle took its present name in 590 when Rome was afflicted by
a terrible plague. Nicholas III, given the reputation of impregnability
of the castle and its proximity to the Basilica of St. Peter‘s and the
Vatican Palace, decided to move there part of the Apostolic See
from the Lateran Palace, which he considered unsafe. To provide
greater security to the Vatican Palace the famous “passetto“, a
protected passage for the Pope from St. Peter to the fortress, was
ST. PETER’S BASILICA
The St. Peter’s Basilica is the seat of the main events of the Roman
Catholic Church and is therefore used for the solemn celebrations:
Christmas, Easter and the Holy Week rituals, proclamation of new
popes and funerals of deceased ones, opening and closing of
Jubilees. Under the pontificate of Pius IX it hosted the sessions of
Vatican Council, under Pope John XXIII and Paul VI the Second
The Apostolic Palace, also called the Papal Palace or the Vatican Palace, is
the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. Before 1871 the official
residence of the Pope was Palazzo del Quirinale. After the fall of the Papal
States in 1870, the King of Italy seized the building in 1871 for his official
residence. After the abolition of the monarchy in 1946, it became the
residence of the President of the Republic.
MODERN AGE PALACES
The word "palace" comes from the Latin name
for the Palatine Hill in Rome (Palatium),
where in the imperial age had developed
structures of the official
residence of the emperors (Domus Augustana).
The name of the hill became for excellence
of any royal and princely residence. The
building is a building of large proportions and
The palace was once used as a residence of
princes and gentlemen, today is mostly used
as a place of public office or place of
representation by private
entities such as banks and foundations.
PALAZZO DEL MADAMA PALZZO
PALZZO DEL PALZZO
VIMINALE POLITICAL POWER CHIGI
Palazzo Madama is located in Corso Rinascimento, a few meters from
Piazza Navona. It currently houses the Senate with the assembly hall,
some parliamentary groups, the offices of the President and Secretary
General, and some offices and services closely related to
The history of the building began in the first half of 15°
century when Innocent X commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini
to build a residence for the family Ludovisi. Montecitorio
houses the Chamber of Deputies. The most important
reception rooms are on the second floor along with the offices
of the President, members of the Executive and the Secretary.
A monumental staircase leads to the
so-called corridor of busts, where
bronze and marble busts of
distinguished men are exposed.
Another exhibition room is called
“Sala della Lupa“. It’s the largest
salon of the Bernini wing, which
owes its name to the a bronze
sculpture of the Capitoline She-wolf.
Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian government since
1961, is a historical building located in the city centre.
The main entrance is in the "Column" square in front of
Marcus Aurelius Column. Until 17th century it was
situated along Via del Corso.
Palazzo della Farnesina, often simply called Farnesina,
houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is located between
Monte Mario and the Tiber in the area of Foro Italico.
Palazzo Spada houses the Council of State. It is located in Piazza Capo di Ferro.
It was originally built in 1540 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro (1501-1559) by
the architects Bartolomeo Baronino and Giulio Mazzoni. The building was
bought by Cardinal Spada in 1632. Spada commissioned Francesco Borromini to
modify it according to new tastes. Palazzo Spada was purchased with all
furnishings and the gallery, by the Italian state in 1927.
The remains of the ancient Tabularium were used as a fortified residence
by the Corsi family. With the rise of communal institutions, in 1144 the
palace became the seat of the reconstituted Senate. It underwent
several changes and additions and the new buildings of Palace of the
Conservatives and the New Palace, which currently house the Capitoline
Museums. The square, built from a design by Michelangelo, was
decorated with the famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius and a
new staircase, the Cordonata was built which allowed people to climb up
the hill even on horseback. The Campidoglio houses Rome’s City Council.
Both the English words Capitol (government administration), and Capital
( capital city) derives from the Capitol Hill.
The Palazzo del Quirinale is situated on the hill with the
same name. It Is the official residence of the President of
the Italian Republic and one of the symbols of the Italian
The Palazzo del Viminale is a historic palace. Since
1925 it was first the seat of the Prime minister then the
seat of the Ministry of Interior of the Italian Republic. In
1961 the Prime Minister moved to Palazzo Chigi
leaving just the Ministry of Interior there.