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 Essential Architecture-  ROME

Palazzo Massimo


Baldassare Peruzzi


Rome, Italy


1527 to 1536


Italian Rennaisance, very fine urban facade 


System cut stone bearing masonry 


The unusual convex facade of the Palazzo Massimo stands on the foundations of an old Roman theater (the odeon of Domitian) and curves along the old Papal Way (now the Corso Vittorio Emanuele). 

The palace is one of three adjoining palaces on a most irregular site, bounded by the curving Papal Way, neighboring palaces on the sides, and a small piazza in the back. The ingenious plan regularizes a contorted site by using local symmetries to organize a set of rectangular rooms around rectangular courtyards, which link axially to the entrances. The poché of walls and minor rooms take up the irregularities generated as the three grids collide. 

The facade of the palace extends beyond its own rooms to make a symmetrical front opposite an axial side street. Centered in this facade at the ground level, an entry portico is recessed behind six Doric columns. A smooth rustication covers the adjoining walls and the upper stories, punctuated with rectangular windows at the piano nobile and two stories of smaller, square and rectangular windows above. The stone frames are detailed simply, with a ribbon motif on the upper stories. In contrast, the interior vestibules, courtyards and rooms are richly ornamented with decorated walls and coffered vaults and ceilings. — JY 

"This is original, elegant architecture, studied in all its details, one of the most successful inventions of early Roman Mannerism." 

Renzo Salvadori. Architect's Guide to Rome. London: Butterworth Architecture, 1990, p. 84.