The Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali occupies almost the entire east side of Piazza Venezia in Rome. Part of the building is occupied by a collection of archaeological objects, some of which were found during the construction of the building.
Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali Rome
Address, opening times and ticket price
Address: Piazza Venezia, 11 – Rome. Telephone: 800 360 622 (Mon, Wed, Fri 9:00 – 13:00; Tue and Thu 14:00 – 18:00). Opening Hours: The collection can be visited by appointment only. Entrance fee: Free of charge. The title of the exhibition is Radici del Presente (“Roots of the Present”). Admission: Free of charge.
History and description
Built between 1906 and 1911, the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was named after the insurance company that commissioned its construction. It took the place of a number of pre-existing buildings. These had been destroyed when it was decided to enlarge the Piazza Venezia in order to accommodate the newly built Vittoriano.
The two buildings that were destroyed were the Palazzo Bolognetti-Torlonia and the Palazzo Nepoti. The facades of both buildings had previously been more or less in line with Via del Corso.
The architect responsible for the layout of the renovated square was Giuseppe Sacconi. After he had also outlined the general architecture of the new building, Guido Cirilli was appointed to further fill in the details.
In order to maintain the symmetry of the square, the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was designed to resemble the Palazzo Venezia across the square. It was even provided, like its neighbor across the street, with a large square tower.
The bas-relief above the main entrance depicts the Venetian Lion. This dates from the 16th century and originally decorated the tower at the Portello Novo in the city wall of Padua. In 1797 Napoleon’s troops had thrown this symbol of Venice into the moat. Later it was fished out again to end up on the facade of the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali.
In addition to the aforementioned palaces, some streets and squares were also razed to the ground. Among these was the Piazza Macel de’ Corvi. One of the houses in this square had a plaque which read that Michelangelo at some point used to live there. This plaque can now be seen on the right wall of the Palazzo.
At the corner of Piazza Venezia and Via Cesare Battisti, there used to be a cafe called Faraglia. Soon after its opening in 1906, this became one of the most famous cafes in Italy. However, after Mussolini moved into the Palazzo Venezia, it was closed for security reasons.
“Roots of the Present”
The archaeological collection of the Assicurazioni Generali consists of about 300 objects. Apart from those found during the construction of the palace itself, the objects come from the collections of the Palazzo Poli in Piazza di Spagna e Palazzo Merolli in Via delle Tre Cannelle. Except for a Greek relief from the 2nd century B.C., all objects date from the 2nd to the 5th century A.D.