FOR THREE CENTURIES A PRESENCE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
Since 1726 Palazzo Chigi Zondadari, with its architectural, Roman-Baroque-esque lines, has become one of the reference points of the marvelous scenery of Siena’s center.
One of the largest city buildings, its uniqueness lies in the courtyard encased in rectangular plans, which one might access coming from two majestic entryways, one located in Banchi di Sotto, the other towering Chiasso Largo. The building’s construction differs considerably from all the others overlooking the city’s main square, by not conforming to the fourteenth-century Gothic style, characterized, in fact, by a simple structure and Roman-Baroque style facades, as well as a balcony located on the first floor. Inside the building one might admire several rooms on the piano nobile frescoed by Marco Benefiel, Placido Costanzi and Giuseppe Colignon. Paint on canvas and architectural panoramas can also be found, following the gusto of Bibbiena and Giovan Battista Marchetti, known as Pianpianino. Inside its walls the Palazzo cherishes also the Chigi Zondadari collection. Palazzo Chigi Zondadari, originally Palazzo Mezzolombardi-Rinaldini (Maconi), one of the greatest, most emblematic and representative of the city, overlooks Piazza del Campo, by the corner of via Rinaldini (Chiassi Largo) and the Piazza itself.
The building’s construction entailed not a few problems, given its massive size which must not have obstructed the features of the surrounding buildings (we would like to remind the reader that all the fourteenth-century buildings overlooking Piazza del Campo as a perceived architectural theatrical setting followed a precise arrangement established in 1297). The architect was forced to respect the limitations imposed on him by the Piazza’s buildings. The outcome achieved is of such skillful prestige that while the building is great in size, yet of simple structure, it fits perfectly near Palazzo Sansedoni and beside Palazzo Piccolomini. Originally made up of four houses, the building was completely transformed by virtue of Giuseppe Flavio Chigi Zondadari (formerly Zendadari, namely silk merchants called ‘zendadi’), the project’s study pertains to the Roman architect Antonio Valeri, and according to historical sources the first foundations were laid in January 1724, and around October 1726 half of the work had already been carried out, however a new architect entered the scene, Petro Hustini, over whose Roman origins some historians have several doubts: some believe him to be a Frenchman come to Rome to study this art, and there he remained, impressed by its charm. Hence why the lines, the figure and architecture of the Palazzo evoke eighteenth-century Roman models.
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.