Palazzo del Quirinale

Quirinale, entrance doorOn the site in ancient times was the Temple of Quirinus, thought to be part of a Sabine encampment.

Then Cardinal d'Este built a house here in 1574; it was he who built the wonderful Villa d'Este in Tivoli.

As Chief of State's residence, this Palace changes its loyaties like a chameleon.

Built as the Pope's summer residence, it was inherited by the Kings of Italy, and now houses the President of the Republic.

The palace gardens and the tower, atop of one of Rome's original 7 hills, have views over large parts of Rome.

QuirinaleBeing the highest point in the city, it is free of the deadly mosquitoes the Pontifs feared. From the fall of the Roman Empire until the beginning of the 20C Rome had "mal'aria" (literally: bad air) as a serious summer disease to contend with.

If there were marshes, there were mosquitoes. All around Rome were undrained marshes, and even in Rome's low-lying areas (like the moat around Castel Sant'Angelo), mosquitoes bred happily in the summer, and malaria was a big decimator of the population.

With the invention of D.D.T. these worries became a thing of the past when the Americans blanket-sprayed every conceivable puddle of stagnant water in 1945.

Quirinale, interiorIn 1870 when Rome became capital of a newly united Italy, on a cold November night the new King came from the north to take possession of his Palace.

The Pope's suite had somehow forgotten to leave the key to the locked residence - and so at 11 at night there was a frantic chase about to find a locksmith to open the door.

Piazza del Quirinale (Map D 5)
Only seen by special permission.

Dioscuri and Obelisk

I Dioscuri and Obelisk(Dioscuri e Obelisco). In front of the Quirinale are the colossal and magnificent Ancient Roman Sculptures of Castor and Pollux and their gorgeous steeds- the Dioscuri.

The original model for these statues were Greek (5C BC), these pale Roman copies (!) are circa 2C AD.

They were moved to this site from the nearby Baths of Constantine (now a private palace) in 1587.

The Obelisk came from in front of the Mausoleum of Augustus; moved here in 1786.

And the large basin of water used to be a cattle trough in the Forum!

Piazza del Quirinale (Map D 5)