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Research - Ancient Rome - The City of Rome - Quirinal Hill

Today we are taking a look at Quirinal Hill (Collis Quirinalis), the tallest of the seven hills, named after Quirinus, a god of war. The word quiris means "spear". The hill has always held the seat of power and as the tallest it was a desirable location for wealthy villas and residences.



On the hill, the Quirinal Palace (Palazzo del Quirinale) was built in 1583 as a summer residence for Pope Gregory XIII (who died shortly after). Other popes enjoyed it as a summer home until 1870 when it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and became the residence of the king. Today, it is the home of the President of the Italian Republic (much like the White House is the home of the United States president). And just like Buckingham Palace, there is even a changing of the guard every day at 3pm.


In the piazza there is an obelisk (standing 46 feet tall) next to statues of Castor and Pollux taming horses (18 feet tall). The obelisk here was originally part of a pair which may have been erected for the Great Tomb of Emperor Augustus but no firm eveidence supports that. The second obelisk was placed at Piazza del Esquilino. The statues were erected in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V but the granite base was added later in 1818. The water feature was installed in the 19th century and was originally a water trough.


The Church of Saint Andrew's (Sant Andrea al Quirinale) was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (and is arguably one of his best works) and constructed in 1661. It is a good example of Roman Baroque architecture - excessive designs, grand details, empahsis on movement.
White and gold stucco of the dome contrasts with the colorful marble walls and floors.

References:
Italy Guides - excellent panoramic views
Wikipedia - Quirinus
Wikipedia - Quirinal Palace
A View on Cities
National Geographic (in Italian) - Quirinal Palace
Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk
Wikipedia - Sant Andrea al Quirinale







Image Credits:
Wikipedia - Quirinal Palace
A View on Cities
Wikipedia - Sant Andrea al Quirinale

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