The Casa dei Crescenzi in Rome is named after the family who had it constructed in the 11th century. It is also known under the names Casa di Cola di Rienzo or Casa di Pilate. The facade is decorates with Roman architectural elements and a rather humblebragging inscription.
Casa dei Crescenzi Rome
Address: Via Luigi Petroselli, 54 – 00186 Roma. Phone: +39 06 6798075. The building hosts the Study Center for the History of Architecture and is not open to tourists.
History and description
What is now the Casa dei Crescenzi was actually originally a 11th century tower. The reason the family ordered its construction was that it gave them more control over the city’s ancient river mills and the old Ponte Emilia, where they collected a toll.
Its construction lasted from 1040 to 1065.
When the building was constructed, it had two floors. Of this, only the first one is still completely intact.
The tower collapsed in 1312, during fights caused by the arrival of Henry VII in Rome, where he was meant to be crowned as Emperor. The house remained standing.
What to see
The most striking element of the facade is the long description above the portal, written by Niccolò di Crescenzio himself. In it, he mentions his parents Crescenzio and Theodora and dedicates the house to his son David, claiming in many words that he has not constructed it out of vanity but to renew the ancient decorum of Rome, since he is well aware of the futility of existence. His humility is only slightly belied by the words, “Rises toward the stars the sublime house whose bulk Nicholas the great, first among the first, erected from the foundations to renew the decorum of the fathers”.
The house is further embellished by ancient Roman architectural elements included in or attached to the walls.
The diversity of these elements shows that the house had been renovated multiple times over the years.