Piazza di Montecitorio Rome
History and description
The name Montecitorio probably derived from “Monte Accettorio” (ab acceptandis suffragiis). People wanted the centurie to come here to vote. A centuria in Republican was a subgroup of the population, the members of which were supposed to cast one collective vote.
The Monte is not a real hill. When a nearby piece of land had to be leveled to facilitate construction of a sundial, the excavated soil was dumped here, creating the elevation.
The Obelisk of Psammetico II, in the center of the square, was brought from Heliopolis to Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Here it was first placed as a sundial in what was then part of the rione Campo Marzio. At present, the monument is simply called Montecitorio Obelisk.
The Palazzo Montecitorio occupies the entire north side of the square. Since 1871, this building has been the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Bernini began construction by order of Pope Innocent X in 1650, and Carlo Fontana ensured its completion in 1694. It was later extended toward Piazza del Parlamento, where it now has a second facade.