Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Princesses' Palace

Surprised and puzzled looks, and responses like "Wow!" and "Congratulations!" were how many Italians reacted when we told them that we lived in the Chigi Palace (Sidenote: Chigi is pronounced KEY-gee). Living in the Palazzo Chigi, the "castle of Ariccia" is a huge deal and honor, which most of us didn't realize until we were actually there - living in the grand palace of a grand Italian family.

The Palazzo Chigi was the summer home to the Chigi family, who is famely known throughout Italy for their importance in the Italian papal lines. Pope Alexander VII was the Chigi pope.

The Palace is decorated in the baroque art style and has been preserved in its enviornment and with the originial furniture and art collections. Another special part of the Palace was that between 1664 and 1672 the famous Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini restored the palace as he was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.

Take a look at the fabulous interior of the Chigi Palace...

Of course, the other part of the Palace is our living area. Click here to see the pictures of our housing from a previous blog.

Our classroom was in the main part of the Palace, off to the right of the main entrance.


Locals enjoying the sun on the Palace steps

Eating lunch on the Palace steps, Meaghan, Jessica, Mary Hester, Kelly (Clockwise)

Snow day in front of the Palace with Meaghan

Cold day in front of the Palace with Mary Hester

The Chigi Princesses ;)

American author Henry James wrote an essay, Italian Hours, and noted our town of Ariccia and the neighboring towns of the Castelli Romani. I love when he mentions “the shabby façade of the old Chigi Palace." The shabby façade is what surrounded me for three months. It was the exterior of my home away from home. I love that shabby façade and all that is inside - the furnishings, the art, the history, the memories...

For more information and photos of the Chigi Palace, click here.

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