The building of the vast architectural complex, consisting of Palazzo Chigi Albani and Fonte Papacqua, was built on commission from Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo, bishop of Trento and Bressanone between 1564 and 1571, who had acquired from the Carafa the fiefdom with the castles of Soriano and Welsh.
Info: Municipality of Soriano nel Cimino, piazza Umberto I n. 12, tel. 0761742235, fax 0761742252,
ProLoco of Soriano nel CiminoPiazza Umberto, I
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HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION
The building of the vast architectural complex, consisting of Palazzo Chigi Albani and Fonte Papacqua, was commissioned by Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo, bishop of Trento and Bressanone, who had acquired from the Carafa the fiefdom with the castles of Soriano and Gallese. The design and direction of the works, carried out between 1564 and 1571, was entrusted to the Perugian architect Ottavio Schiratti, who died precisely at that time, although it does not seem that this could have involved substantial changes to the original Papacqua project.
The Madruzzo building had to perform the function of “maisonnette”, a country house; it is not possible to establish whether there was a previous building or garden arrangements, it is only known that, in Roman times, the Papacqua district was crossed by a road, which started from the Cimina, ran through the Ferentana and joined with the Amerina near by Orte. Probably in the mid-sixteenth century the district stood in the open countryside, a secluded and solitary place, where an impetuous source of water gushed out.
The palace was used by Madruzzo as a holiday resort from 1572, but death struck the cardinal in 1578, who could not see the projects completed.
Beyond the entrance, you reach an “L” -shaped courtyard, from which a large terrace develops, in front of which, between the two buildings that make up the building, the various elements that make up the the elegant Fonte Papacqua, surmounted in the background by a loggia closed by an architectural elevation, in turn subjected to a cylindrical turret. The Source is made up of two sculptural groups obtained directly on the existing rock. The central group presents a figure of a woman with goat’s feet (symbolizing the “Queen of the waters” or “Papacqua”), with three children leaning against her, two satyrs, a god Pan playing the bagpipe and various other animal figures . The sculptures in the group on the left represent Moses, who makes water gush from a cliff, surrounded by thirsty Jews. Pagan tradition and Christian tradition meet in a single work of rare beauty. Also interesting are the allegorical figures of the four seasons, placed two on each side, masks, waterfalls and jets, which follow one another on the left side, framing the main sculptures.
Water, the main element in Papacqua, is celebrated in sixteenth-century culture as a changing, bursting and symbolic subject, as a manifestation of the mysterious forces of nature; here it emerges from the compositions carved into the rock walls, is conveyed in a series of jets, and then flows under the terrace and falls in a cascade; collected in the basin in the rocky bottom of the valley, it forms a recently restored lake, which in the period in which the source was built, was used for shows and naumachia, according to the custom of the lords of the time.
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GRAZZINI G., Zampillano segreti dalla fontana del Papa: a Soriano nel Cimino rivivono pagine di storia e d’arte che nessuno è mai riuscito e probabilmente nessuno riuscirà mai a decifrare, in “Bell’Italia. Alla scoperta del paese più bello del mondo”. Anno 1, n. 2 (giugno 1986), pp. 72-89, 122.
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Soriano Turistica, a cura dell’Associazione “Pro-Soriano”, Soriano nel Cimino (Vt) 1970.
TARSETTI BARZELLOTTI M. A., Soriano nel Cimino, Bolsena (Vt) 1991.