Palazzo Altieri Rome
Address, opening times and admission
The address of the Palazzo Altieri is Piazza del Gesù, 49 – Rome, but the entrance is in the Via degli Astalli 19 (tel. +39 ). Bus: 30, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 130F, 190F, 492, 628, 916, 916F, N5, N6, N7, N15, N20. Openingstimes and admission: The building is usually not open for visitors.
History and description
The building is named for the family who owned it, the Altieri. They also owned a number of other properties in the area, including several buildings that were later destroyed in order to be able to construct the Chiesa del Gesù.
When Giambattista Altieri became cardinal (1643) he of course needed a residence in accordance with his new status and the architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi was given the task to redesign the Piazza del Gesù.
An interesting detail is that one woman, a widow named Berta, refused to abandon her home and thus De Rossi came up with the idea to incorporate it into the new Palazzo Altieri. The two smaller windows used to belong to Berta‘s house.
When the Cardinal died and the building was completed (1655) it was smaller than it is now and the courtyard was not there yet.
In those days being a Cardinal ran in the family and in 1679 it was Giambattista‘s brother Emilio Altieri‘s turn. He had been appointed by Pope Clement IX, whose successor he became, as Clement X, only one year later.
Obviously Popes need bigger residencies than Cardinals and De Rossi was told to enlarge the palazzo. He kept the original façade but enlarged the structure itself to the right and to the back, also adding the courtyard.
Nowadays part of the Palazzo Altieri is owned by Associazione Bancaria Italiana and can only rarely be visited.