Rome, finishes restoration of Casa Litta at Palazzo Orsini. Opening to the public is being studied

In Rome, the restoration of the precious rooms of Casa Litta in Palazzo Orsini, headquarters of the Embassy of the Order of Malta to the Holy See, is finished. Now the opening to the public is being studied.

In Rome, the restoration of Casa Litta - Palazzo Orsini, one of the most interesting buildings in the capital’s historic center, has been completed: the rooms of the palace, now home to theEmbassy of the Order of Malta to the Holy See, will once again be enjoyable as they have been completely recovered in their rich artistic heritage of frescoed halls, embellished with coffered ceilings and large antique tapestries. The intervention, which began in January 2020 and was completed in June 2021, saw the restoration of the frescoed fascia of the Green Room, the coffered ceilings of the same Green Room and the Yellow Room in addition to the conservative restoration of the tapestries, among the most important pieces of the house’s heritage, the replacement of the silk wall hangings of the two main halls with new tapestries, and the restoration of some elements of the furniture.

The operation will allow to maintain the full usability of the Palazzoche in its halls contains important works of art including the Borghese Table made in 1634-1635 by Alessandro Algardi and modified by Giuseppe Valadier. A restoration and recovery that was made possible thanks to the contribution of the Giulio and Giovanna Sacchetti Onlus Foundation, which for years has been working to bring to light the beauty of our artistic heritage, supporting prestigious Italian institutions with various initiatives.

The building, erected on the ruins of the Theater of Marcellus, is located in one of the most historically and artistically interesting areas of Rome, between the Forum and the Tiber Island. Palazzo Orsini is in some ways a unique structure in that it was used, over the centuries, first as a theater, then as a fortress and finally as the noble residence of the powerful Savelli, Sforza Cesarini and Orsini families. An entire wing of the four-story palace became the property of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1994, thanks to a generous bequest from Countess Valeria Rossi di Montelera Litta Modignani, taking the name Casa Litta Palazzo Orsini.

The last year’s intervention involved three magnificent halls, of different sizes, all furnished with antique works of art. The interventions led to the restoration and preservation, in the Green Room, of the wooden coffered ceiling painted with floral motifs and decorative frescoes around the entire perimeter of the walls, depicting putti playing, interspersed in the four corners with female figures holding coats of arms and heraldic symbols. In the Yellow Room, the wooden coffered ceiling also painted in florals was restored. Extraordinary maintenance and cleaning of eight antique tapestries decorating the walls of the Green Room, Yellow Room and Dining Room was also carried out. Among the most important pieces worked on, in the Yellow Room, are two tapestries (of the eleven existing examples in the world) from the series Landscapes with Animals made between 1611 and 1614 by the workshop of Catherine van den Eynde, who had started and directed one of the most famous manufactories active in Brussels between the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. The first tapestry Landscape with Ostriches was made by Jan Raes II, the most important weaver in Brussels, in the early 17th century while the second recovered tapestry in the room, also by Jan Raes II, is Leopard on a Pond, belonging to the same series commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Peretti Montalto, one of the great cardinal collectors of the 16th and 17th centuries, first exhibited in Rome some four hundred years ago. Now the Embassy, after this restoration, is studying solutions to also allow public visits starting in the fall.

“I am happy to have participated in the recovery of this palace,” says Giovanna Sacchetti, president of the Giulio and Giovanna Sacchetti Onlus Foundation, “which is also part of my historical memory, having frequented it during the years when it was inhabited by Valeria Litta. As always, the Foundation’s mission is to return to the public important works of Italian heritage of historical and artistic value.”

“We are indeed very grateful to the Foundation and its President, Marchesa Giovanna Sacchetti, for believing in our project and allowing us to carry it out even during the period of the pandemic, which made the work and fundraising necessary for the complex restoration and recovery operation of Casa Litta-Palazzo Orsini much more difficult,” stressed Antonio Zanardi Landi, Ambassador of the Order of Malta to the Holy See. “The Sacchetti Foundation with great generosity fully supported the restoration of the artworks and the remaking of the silk wall hangings, woven in San Leucio on the original 18th-century designs.”

Green room
Green Hall
Yellow room
Yellow Hall
Dining room
Dining Room
Detail of the leopard tapestry
Detail of the leopard tapestry
The restoration of tapestries
The restoration of the tapestries

Rome, finishes restoration of Casa Litta at Palazzo Orsini. Opening to the public is being studied
Rome, finishes restoration of Casa Litta at Palazzo Orsini. Opening to the public is being studied

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