THE TRIUMPH OF RENAISSANCE: THE IMPRESSIVE REGAL ROOM AND DUCAL ROOM / INSIDE THE VATICAN PALACES #3

© Roberto Alborghetti - Sala Regia and Sala Ducale (12)

Sala Regia (Regal Room) and Sala Ducale (Ducal Room) are two beautiful rooms in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. They aren’t generally open to visitors: they usually host consistories, conferences, papal hearings or special events. I recently had the opportunity to visit them (I was in Rome to meet Pope Francis for the presentation of “Francis”, the illustrated and historical biography I wrote about him). Here some news (from New Advent website) about Sala Regia and Sala Ducale. They well represent the triumph of Renaissance.  

The Sala Regia (Regal Room)

 Although not intended as such, this broad room is really an antechamber to the Sistine Chapel, reached by the Scala Regia (Royal Staircase). To the left of the entrance formerly stood the papal throne, which is now at the opposite side before the door leading to the Cappella Paolina. The hall was begun under Paul III by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and was completed in 1573. The elegant barrel-vault is provided with the highly graceful and very impressive plaster decorations of Pierin del Vaga. The stucco ornaments over the doors are by Daniele da Volterra. The longitudinal walls are broken on the one side by two, and on the other by three, large doors, between which Giorgio Vasari and Taddeo Zuccaro have introduced very powerful frescoes, whose effect is more than ornamental. They depict momentous turning-points in the life of the Church, among others the return of Gregory XI from Avignon to Rome, the battle of Lepanto, the raising of the ban from Henry IV, and the reconciliation of Alexander III with Frederick Barbarossa. This hall served originally for the reception of princes and royal ambassadors. Today the consistories are held in it, and an occasional musical recital in the presence of the Pope; during a conclave it is a favourite promenade for the cardinals.

The Sala Ducale (Ducal Room)

The Sala Ducale lies between the Sala Regia and the Loggia of Giovanni da Udine. Formerly there were here two separate halls, which were converted into one by Bernini by the removal of the separating wall (the position of which is still clearly perceptible). The decorative paintings, which are of a purely ornamental nature, are by Raffaellino da Reggio, Sabbatini, and Matthæus Brill. In this impressive hall were formerly held the public consistories for the reception of ruling princes. It now serves occasionally for the reception of pilgrims, the consecration of bishops, when (as rarely happens) this is undertaken by the Pope, or is used for the accommodation of specified divisions of the papal household, when the pope holds a consistory in the Sala Regia, proceeds to the Sistine Chapel, or sets out with great solemnity for St. Peter’s.

(3 – To be continued)

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RELATED ARTICLES:

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/inside-the-vatican-palaces-2-exclusive-the-frescoes-by-michelangelo-in-cappella-paolina-limited-accessibility-area/

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https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/i-lead-you-inside-the-vatican-palaces-1-the-beautiful-berninis-royal-staircase/

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https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/extraordinary-day-i-met-pope-francis-for-the-presentation-of-the-historical-biography-i-wrote-about-him-images-talk-better-than-words/

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https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/pope-francis-person-of-the-year-my-new-book-tells-his-extraordinary-life-2-volumes-unpublished-stories-340-photos/

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I LEAD YOU INSIDE THE VATICAN PALACES #1 / THE BEAUTIFUL BERNINI’S ROYAL STAIRCASE…

© Roberto Alborghetti

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Before my recent private encounter with Pope Francis  for the presention of the biography I wrote about him, I had the way to visit some of the beautiful rooms in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City; as we know, Pope Francis doesn’t live there, but  in the unpretencious house, Casa Santa Marta, where I met him.

I been firstly on the incredible Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Scala Regia ( Royal Staircase) which is a flight of steps and part of the formal entrance to the Vatican. It was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in the early 16th century, to connect the Apostolic Palace to St. Peter’s Basilica, and restored by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1663 to 1666.

The site for the stairs, a comparatively narrow sliver of land between church and palace, is awkwardly shaped with irregular converging walls. Bernini used a number of typically theatrical, baroque effects in order to exalt this entry point into Vatican. The staircase proper takes the form of a barrel-vaulted colonnade that necessarily becomes narrower at the end of the vista, exaggerating the distance. Above the arch at the beginning of this vista is the coat of arms of Alexander VII, flanked by two sculpted angels.

(1 – TO BE CONTINUED)

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RELATED ARTICLES:

https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/extraordinary-day-i-met-pope-francis-for-the-presentation-of-the-historical-biography-i-wrote-about-him-images-talk-better-than-words/

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https://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/pope-francis-person-of-the-year-my-new-book-tells-his-extraordinary-life-2-volumes-unpublished-stories-340-photos/