Beatrice Cacciotti: Le antichità dei Chigi nel palazzo di famiglia al Corso dal XVII al XX secolo (Estratto dl fasc. 112)


The Chigi Antiques in the Family Palace on the Corso from 17th to 20th Century

Prince Agostino I Chigi (1634–1705), nephew of Pope Alexander VII, lived in the palace on the Corso – now Prime Minister’s official residence – where he collected some antiques, above all imperial Roman portraits and a noteworthy collection of medals, inherited from his uncle, who was a keen numismatist. On his cousin’s death, the cardinal Flavio (1631–1693), Agostino inherited the collection of antique sculptures that Flavio had gathered in his palace near Santi Apostoli, and he transferred it to the family house, on the Corso. The whole collection was sold by the son Augusto to the Prince Elector of Saxony, Augustus II the Strong, in 1728. With Sigismondo I (1736–1793), a politically unquiet sprit, the Chigi regained possession of a new collection, thanks to two archaeological excavation campaigns carried out from 1770 to 1780 near Porcigliano. But Agostino III (1771–1855) sold most of the pieces discovered there to Robert Fagan and Thomas Hope in 1798. Later, Sigismondo II and Mario permitted new excavations in their southern Latium estates, thereby increasing the palace collection with antique pottery finds, then transferred to Villa Giulia Museum.