In the 17th december 1997, a double event has been celebrated in Rome:
the end of the works of repair of Palazzo Altemps, lasted fifteen years,
a renaissance palace in the center of Rome,
the reopening to the public of the beautifull collection Ludovisi. A legendary
collection this of the Boncompagni Ludovisi princes, families of popes
and cardinals who keep in the rooms and gardens of their beautifull roman
house a multitude of ancient statues; a crowd of Gods, fauns, satyrs, ninphes,
athletes and warrios.
Works that for ages have represented a typical example of the ancient beauty,
copied with personal reconstructions and audacious repairs, by greats artists,
In the 1901 Boncompagni princes putted up to sale their collection.
Italian State bought only 96 of the 460 sculptures, so the collection
was dispersed and the statues were separated in differents museums.
After arranging temporarily the statues in the Bath Museum, closed from a
decade, now , at last, works have found, in Altemps Palace, a seat worthy
of their rank.
Statues have been located according to a precise standard: that is restoring
scenes of the renaissance and baroque Rome which was adorned by those marble
They tried to stick closely to the sixteenth-century taste, integrating the
statues where the Altemps had their collection.
The statues were almost all of roman age. However many were on greek style,
so, for the sixteenth-seventeenth century learned men, who didn't do many
distinction between originals and copies, the collection was the symbol of
beauty in the ancient Greece.
Composed of a hundred pieces at that moment, today the State has saved about
sixteen works, as many are in the most importants museums of the world, from
Among the masterpieces displayed, we remind the Ludovisi throne, one of the
most famous piece in the collection, it shows Venere's birth, but for some
people, among them Federico Zeri, it could be a false of the nineteenth century.
And also, the famous group of Oreste and Elettra, embracing and saying goodbye
to each other, milestone for entire generations of sculptures, so as Ares
Ludovisi, called "the most beauty Marte in the ancient times" by the famous
Behind the brightness of the sculptures and paintings is hidden a tragedy
that left to Altemps Palace the fame of a damned place.
Cardinal Altempsi made the mistake to give in marriage his son Roberto with
one of the Orsini, a family in hatred to the pope Sisto V, who in revenge,
accused Roberto of adultery, and cut off his head.
As a memory, Roberto's son, ordered to paint in the chappel of the palace
a great fresco which reproduced the father decapitation, so that the torture
couldn't be forgotten.
Visiting Altemps Palace, italians and foreigners, have a unique esperience,
it's a not to be missed appointment with art and culture of all time.