Palazzo Vitelleschi

Old Town

Palazzo Vitelleschi

1436 – 1439

Commissioned by Cardinal G. Vitelleschi and built between 1436 and 1439, partly on pre-existing structures, this building, designed by two different architects and currently state property, has been home to the National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia since 1924.

The facade of the building showcases both Gothic and Renaissance elements, reflecting the transition to the new style that was taking place at the time. On the left sector, the Renaissance imprint is evident in the portal, which features a triangular tympanum bearing the Vitelleschi family coat of arms. Meanwhile, the central sector boasts pairs of two-light windows in a Gothic style, and the right sector features three-light windows that also evoke the Gothic style. On the left side of the facade’s recessed area is the octagonal well’s ring, dated 1459, which was formerly located in the Palazzo Comunale. The walls display bas-reliefs of the town’s patron saints, including St. Lituardo, St. Pantaleone, St. Secondiano, St. Margherita, and St. Teofanio, along with the coats of arms of the Municipality, the Vitelleschi family, and Pope Pius II Piccolomini. There’s also an epigraph that contains the names of Consoli and Gonfaloniere and a dedication of the work.
On the right side, there is a bronze sculpture of a female figure donated by the famous 20th-century sculptor E. Greco in memory of the Tarquinian poet Vincenzo Cardarelli. Looking at the back of the palace, specifically in Piazza Soderini, visitors can observe the first-floor windows which are rectangular and reflect the new Renaissance style. In contrast, the double-light windows on the second floor are in the Gothic style.
The projection of the hanging apse of the palace chapel, located on the first floor, is also visible.

 

CHAPEL AND ANTECHAMBER OF PALAZZO VITELLESCHI

The chapel and antechamber of Palazzo Vitelleschi feature a rectangular floor plan and vaulted roof. The hanging apse, triumphal arch, and two pairs of superimposed twisted columns surmounted by a lowered arch on capitals add to the chapel’s grandeur. Inside, visitors can admire notable works including a 15th-century panel painting of St. Paul, attributed to Matteo di Giovanni and formerly housed in St. Marco. Other works include a portrait of G. Vitelleschi (1886, C. Mariani), a Vitelleschi marble coat of arms (15th century), and ceramics from excavations in the palace.
The antechamber, G. Vitelleschi’s study, also has a rectangular floor plan and barrel-vaulted roof. It is decorated with frescoes attributed to J. Salimbeni of San Severino Marche or Balletta’s circle, F. d’Antonio Zacchi, which date back to the 15th century. Visitors can see Stories of Lucretia and Cardinal Virtues on the long walls, and on the short walls, there’s a painting of Jesus among the doctors on the left and the Vitelleschi coat of arms on the right.
After a lengthy closure, the restored rooms reopened to the public in 2011.

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MUNICIPALITY OF TARQUINIA

Department of Tourism
Tax Code and VAT No. 00129650560

Education, Sport, Tourism, Cultural Activities

Piazza Matteotti, 6 – 01016 Tarquinia (VT)
Telephone: (+39) 0766 849224
Email: comune.tarquinia@comune.tarquinia.vt.it
https://www.comune.tarquinia.vt.it/it-it/home

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Barriera San Giusto – 01016 Tarquinia (VT)
Telephone: (+39) 0766849282
Email: info.turismo@tarquinia.net

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Photography by: César Vásquez Altamirano, Tiziano Crescia, Roberto Romano, Sailko Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, Paolo Monti

Translations by Ylenia Marcucci e Alessandro Rotatori