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Visit Palazzo Pallavicini
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The reopening of Palazzo Pallavicini is a major event for the town of Bologna. First of all it is a very important restitution because it is a ‘palazzo senatorio’ built for Senators Isolani and Alamandini in accordance with the ‘senatorial’ architectural criteria that envisaged a monumental staircase designed by Canali and a ballroom decorated with frescoes in 1690 by one of the leading artists of the Bolognese Baroque style, Giovanni Antonio Burrini who painted The stories of Phaeton. But what is worth emphasizing is that the Palazzo is not only an extraordinary monument of art and architecture unknown to the inhabitants of Bologna, but it is also a very important page of European history. Indeed, one of the leading personalities of European history and politics of the Enlightenment lived here from the mid-18th century up to 1773 when he died, the Genoese Marshall Gian Luca Pallavicini. Plenipotentiary Minister of the Pallavicini Empire, the guests he hosted in this Palazzo included all the leading personalities of the time: Emperor Joseph II of Hapsburg, his brother the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo. The frescoes of one of the halls on the main floor, painted by Pietro Fabbri in 1793, is unique in the world. It represents the Apotheosis of Empress of Austria, Maria Theresa of Hapsburg, portrayed as Cybel, the mother of all peoples. A subject like this is not to be found not even in Vienna.
Of key importance for the Pallavicini family was the presence of the famous singer Farinelli and above all of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, together with his father, was hosted both here and at the villa of Croce del Biacco. Mozart met Father Martini, who frequented the Palazzo, and he gave concerts in the presence of the Bolognese nobility. The concert of 26 March 1770 by the enfant prodige, who was fourteen at the time, was truly memorable. Mozart played the violin in the presence of 70 Dames of the Starry Cross of the Bolognese nobility, of the high Austrian aristocracy (among these was Count Joseph of Kaunitz Rittberg, the Princes of Holstein) and the religious authorities of the town: Archbishop Vincenzo Malvezzi, the legate Cardinal Antonio Colonna Branciforte and the vice-legate Monsignor Ignazio Boncompagni Ludovisi.
Moreover, Mozart composed some of his juvenile works precisely here in this Palazzo. In via San Felice he composed the Minuet in E flat major K94 and the Antiphons Cibavit eos and Quaerite primum regnum Dei, while at the villa Pallavicini di Croce del Biacco, where he was a guest in the summer of 1770 up to October, he composed the work Mithridates, King of Pontus.
Marshal Gian Luca did not make any changes to the Palazzo, which he rented from Count Bolognetti up until 1773 when, on his death bed, he purchased it for his son Giuseppe. Giuseppe Pallavicini, who was the head of the Bolognese branch of the family started major decoration works in 1789 that involved the most important Bolognese sculptor of the time, Giacomo Rossi, who decorated the rooms of the Palazzo, the painter Pedrini who painted the fresco Allegory of Commerce, a tribute to the merchant origins of the Pallavicini family, and Valliani, author of the frescoes in the Sala dell'Amicizia. A true collection of late 18th century Bolognese art.
For further information the reader is referred to the studies by Elisabetta Landi and Alfeo Giacomelli published in 2014 in a book edited by Princess Maria Camilla Pallavicini of Rome.
Elisabetta Landi, Gianluca e Giuseppe Pallavicini: la cultura e le committenze artistiche e musicali, in “Quaderni Obertenghi”, 4, Secoli XVI-XIX, Jesi (Ancona), Stampa Nova, 2014, pp. 403-422
Alfeo Giacomelli, Il maresciallo Gianluca Pallavicini (Genova 1697-Bologna 1773). Erede politico-militare del principe Eugenio, protagonista dell’età dei lumi, fautore dell’equilibrio europeo e precursore dell’unità d’Italia liberale, in “Quaderni Obertenghi”, 4, Secoli XVI-XIX, Jesi (Ancona), Stampa Nova, 2014, pp.353-401 (with a previous bibliography of the Author)
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