The courtyards

The courtyard, in a quadrilateral form, presents three closed sides. The counterfaçade opposite the entrance opens up with an airy loggia whose arches in Travertine  are reflected on all the other sides, whereas the arches on the top floor are used to form the gallery.

The frieze with its metopes and triglyphs which run along the entire perimeter of the main courtyard and which feature depictions of symbols closely linked to Baldassini person. From the others we can note the presentation of the owner with the Baldassini family crest, guarded left and right by two griffins, representing the lawyer himself, in turn flanked by two symbols indicating the profession of  Baldassini (the scrolls) and loyalty to the church (the open rose).  On the same side, in the center, the Medici lily and other symbols of papal power (the quiver and the hunting trophy bag) represent a kind of dedication to Pope Leo X, the man behind the social rise of the Palace’s owner.

Among the various symbols one immediately notices the figure of an elephant called Annone; in fact the animals was a present by the Portuguese King Manuel of Aviz to Pope Leo X on the occasion of his coronation in 1513. The pachyderm, a seldom albino specimen, arrived in Rome on the 12th of March 1514 and was presented in a grand procession through the streets of the capital, flanked by an enthusiastic crowd, along with two leopards, a panther, some parrots and other rare animals. Hanno became a “mascot” at the papal court and was the star of several processions throughout the city that aroused curiosity and admiration at his passage.

Near to the main courtyard, the sixteenth-century building originally also had a small garden, where today, thanks to its closure, has been created the reading room of the current Library of the Institute. The reopening of the portal facing the courtyard, with its glass windows,  provides the environment not only with a unique source of light, but also allowed for the restoration, at least visually, of the extraordinary axial perspective through the building from the entrance on the Via delle Coppelle side through to the one located in the back alley on Vicolo della Vaccarella.

Next to this room a beautiful spiral staircase allowed for access to the upper, piano nobile floor. Most likely the carriage of the Palace’s owner was kept in this environment here how it’s can see thanks the marks left along the wall on the entrance side. And perhaps, the spiral staircase was too important and beautiful to be used as simple rear staircase, and was, instead, used by Baldassini to enter and leave the Palace undisturbed, directly from his rooms.

A third courtyard of modest size, a secondary environment that connected the rest of the house with the stable which was accessed from the back alley (todays Vicolo della Vaccarella).

Two small loggias opened onto the courtyard, one above the other. Sangallo used this beautiful drum column, topped by an impressive capital, as central support, probably using elements found during the excavations for the construction of the building.

Another find of particular value was made during the Palaces’ final construction phase: a magnificent sarcophagus. It is on exhibit in the area between the entrance and courtyard, attributed to the early Flavian period of the Roman Empire, it is datable around 70 A.D.