The Palazzo Massimo di Pirro is located right next to the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne. It used to be one of the many buildings owned by the Massimo family in this part of Rome. In the 15th century, the palace housed Rome’s first printing house.
Palazzo Massimo di Pirro in Rome
The address of Palazzo Massimo di Pirro is Piazza dei Massimi – Rome. The building is not open to the public.
History and description
The Palazzo Massimo di Pirro gets its name from a statue of the God Mars, found during excavations during the construction of the palace. Initially, the statue was thought to be the king of what was then called Epirus, an empire on the current border region between Albania and Greece.
Incidentally, this king’s name in Engish was Pyrrhus, and although he had won the battle against the Romans in 275 B.C., it had cost him so many men that it was more akin to a defeat, hence the expression “Pyrrhic victory.”
When the Landsknechts looted Rome in 1527, the palace was severely damaged and in 1530 Giovanni Mangone was commissioned to oversee a thorough reconstruction/restoration.
The entire facade was subsequently covered with frescoes by Daniele da Volterra to celebrate the wedding between Angelo Massimo and Antonietta Planca Incoronati.
In 1877, as indicated on an inscription above the door, the façade was restored.
From a historical point of view, Palazzo Massimo di Pirro is significant because two German book printers, Arnold Sweynheym and Corrado Pannartz opened Rome’s first printing house there. The first work they printed was Sant’Agostino’s De civitate Dei (1467).