“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”
Augustus, Roman Emperor
In the heart of the historic centre of Rome, nestled in the maze of streets that mark the urban space between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, stands Palazzo Nari a Sant’Eustachio. This ancient building takes its name from the powerful Naro family, who commissioned its construction. The name Sant’Eustachio, which is the name of the district where the building stands and which derives from the ancient Basilica of the same name, not only alludes to the geographical location of the building, but also refers to the branch of the Naro family that had already settled in the district in the Middle Ages and distinguished itself from other Roman branches of the same family.
The palace was built at the behest of Bernardino Naro in the first half of the 17th century, based on a design by Bartolomeo Breccioli, who had been commissioned to demolish the old medieval houses that stood on the large block, formerly owned by the family, between what is now Piazza de’ Caprettari, Via Santa Chiara, Via de’ Nari and Via Monterone. The architraved doorway, the cornice and the sides of the windows are decorated with two crescents, the heraldic coat of arms of the Naro family, who wanted to make their ownership of the building immediately evident, so that it could be immediately identified from the outside as the public seat of the family’s affairs, which counted among its most illustrious members military commanders, high members of the papal court and cardinals. As can be seen from these few notes, Palazzo Nari in Sant’Eustachio has intertwined its history with the millennial history of Rome, thus becoming, over the centuries, a precious and tangible testimony to the past of the Eternal City.
MORE I LESS
The European Heritage Project has recently acquired an important portion of the piano nobile of Palazzo Nari in Sant’Eustachio, a clear example of early 17th century Roman architecture. The building, although far removed in form and decoration from the peaks reached by the great masters of Roman Baroque, stands out for the ability of its design and plan to fit into the complex urban context of the historic centre of Rome, respecting the spaces that medieval developments had delineated, often in a confused and heterogeneous manner. Palazzo Nari therefore originally also fulfilled an ordering function, occupying an entire block in a central part of the city, where the maze of streets and roads still has a labyrinthine appearance. Not only is the palace remarkable for its particularly harmonious impact on the outside, but its interior is also of great interest. The entire main floor is characterised by large and very high rooms. In five rooms, the ceiling is made of valuable decorated coffers, while on the vault of the main hall, the real gem of the residence, you can admire a large fresco, still splendid after more than three centuries, by Antonio Gherardi. Gherardi, an appreciated painter from Arezzo who worked in Rome at the end of the 17th century, painted a large allegorical scene here for Marquis Fabrizio Nari, the triumph of Reason over Deception, surrounded by four biblical episodes from the Book of Esther.Palazzo Nari in Sant’Eustachio has what might be described as a double structure: on the one hand, the rooms that wind around a central courtyard, more intimate and not visible from the street; on the other, the rooms whose windows open directly onto the public street. This is the typical layout of the urban palace, which, while providing a reserved space, is always projected outwards, towards the city in which it is inserted. After centuries of being the centre of life for the noble Nari di Sant’Eustachio family, the ancestral home followed the family’s declining fortunes: at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the part facing Piazza Santa Chiara was sold and demolished to build a neoclassical palace, while the rest of the building was sold to the Serventi family in 1876. With the acquisition of an important portion of the piano nobile of Palazzo Nari in Sant’Eustachio, the European Heritage Project intends to restore the building to its former glory, re-evaluating its role and importance in the urban context in which it is located.
The European Heritage Project acquires the Palazzo Nari a Sant’Eustachio.