POPE ALEXANDER’S DREAM COME TRUE
An accurate archival investigation revealed the entire path that brought to the Palazzo’s creation, a building which at the time shattered the conventional schemes of Sienese architecture.Important documents regarding Palazzo Chigi Zondadari in Siena have been found circa thirty years ago during a research spearheaded by the architect Leonardo Petrosino. The authenticity of these archival sources sheds light over the lengthy time arch required to bring to an end this ambitious venture launched by Fabio Chigi (Pope Alexander VII), carried on by his grandson, Cardinal Flavio Chigi and settled over sixty years later after the involvement of the two grandons, Antonio Felice Zondadari, cardinal in Rome, and Alexander Zondadari, archbishop of Siena, who financed the intervention on behalf of the grandson, the marquis Flavio Giuseppe Chigi Zondadari. For a better understanding of the ambitious project commissioned by the Chigis suffice it to know that it remains the only building which, instead of adhering to the norms imposed by the “Biccherna”, warranting a gothic-style façade, it makes a startling appearance with a Roman-Baroque front. This formal choice is undoubtedly owed to having entrusted the project to an important Roman architect present in the following of the pontifical court. There is in fact an exhaustive documentation found in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, where numerous relevant graphical papers of the undeniable fact are found, created before the building phase, highlighting the various estates owned by the Chigi family found inside the area occupied by the Palazzo, a quadrangular space delimited by open fronts facing Piazza del Campo, Banchi di Sotto, Chiasso Largo and Chiasso de’ Pollaioli. Found within the same archive is a correspondence relating to a project proposal accompanied by drawings made up of two sections: plans of the four levels and two different facades, this first project being attributed to Gianlorenzo Bernini and his professional studio’s entourage. One more documentary source is kept by the Biblioteca Comunale of Siena made up of various project papers developed for the five plans currently part of the building, carried out by two or three different authors in just as many variants under development. The entirety of the production of these architectural drawings has been attributed to anonymous Sienese technical personalities as well as the known architect who concluded the work, Antonio Valeri, architect of the Fabbriche Pietrine and grandson of the aforementioned Bernini, Valeri himself being mentioned in Pecci brothers’ Sanese Journal, coupled with his collaborator Pietro Hostini.
A structure shouldering three centuries of history reclaiming its role as a protagonist of the city’s social life, able to form connections and meaningful experiences, between the past, the immediate, and the future.