The Palazzo Soliano is one of the historical buildings in the Piazza del Duomo, in the center of Orvieto. It has been restored countless times throughout its history. Today, the first floor serves as the seat of the Emilio Greco Museum.
Palazzo Soliano Orvieto
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 1, 05018 Orvieto. Telephone: +39 0763 344605. Opening hours: From 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance fee: Unknown.
History and curiosities
The Palazzo Soliano was built by order of Pope Boniface VII after he had made peace with the city. Since the lower part of the walls seems to be older than the rest of the building, it can be assumed that a pre-existing construction was used. There are those who believe that Palazzo Soliano was built on the site of the former Santa Maria Prisca Cathedral, demolished in 1297.
When Pope Boniface died in 1303, construction of the palace had not been completed yet. Construction was at a standstill until 1321, when it was purchased by the Opera del Duomo. It was refurbished to house the workers working on the new Cathedral.
The name Soliano has to do with the fact that it stands on the sunny side of the square.
The building consisted of a large hall on the first floor. There used to be a loggia on the east side, with a monumental staircase leading to the terrace above it. This terrace was used for public announcements and as an entrance to the second floor, where the Curia used to meet.
It is not entirely clear which parts of the palace are part of the original construction. However, we do know approximately how it used to look, thanks to a fresco painted by Ugolino di Prete Ilario in the Cappella del Corporale in the city’s Cathedral.
In 1460 century, Pope Pius II had the building restored. In 1493, on the occasion of Pope Alexander VI’s visit, further renovations took place. However, it remained an unsafe building. In 1504, carnival visitorss climbed onto the roof, after which it collapsed.
In 1540, Palazzo Soliano came into the possession of the municipality, which had it partially destroyed and rebuilt. Ten years later it passed again into the hands of the Opera del Duomo, after which Ippolito Scalza was commissioned to carry out further restoration works.
The last major restoration took place toward the end of the 19th century, when Paolo Zampi attempted to return the palace to its original state. It was intended to house the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. This did happen, but since 1989 the collection has moved to the Palazzi Papali.
The loggia of the Palazzo Soliano still houses a number of random Roman objects, while the Museo Emilio Greco occupies the first floor.
Highlights in the loggia
There is a landmark from the year 107 with an inscription indicating that Emperor Trajan had a road constructed to Chiusi.
A tombstone with an inscription dedicated to the freed slave Ulpiae Terpsidi, found by chance in 1881 in the Piazza Grande of Castel Viscardo.
The marble Venus of Pagliano was found during excavations at the former Roman port of Pagliano, outside Orvieto.