Palazzo Orsini owes its name to the family feud of Monterotondo from the Middle Ages until 1626. With the marriage in 1469 between Lorenzo il Magnifio and Clarice Orsini from the Monterotondo branch of the family, we start witnessing a gentrification of the Palace; the rooms will be decorated with frescos by important late Renaissance artists such as Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta, from Raffael’s school, as well as Raul Bril. We have four rooms decorated with frescos: coming from the Council Room the first one is the “Stanza dei Paesaggi” (The landscapes room), “La Stanza di Adone” (Adone’s room), La Stanza delle Cacce (Hunting room), and finally on the north wing the Barberini’s Gallery.
Executed by Paul Bril’s school, we find the landscapes scattered with architectural ruins, as a reminder of the crisis hitting the Orsini family and the whole of Italy between the 16th and 17th century. The wooden coffered ceiling is of innovative guise, ornate with Turkish weaponry, homage to the numerous expeditions by the Orsini family against those populations.
This room tells us the story of Adone’s love life and death and it was executed by Siciolante da Sermoneta, student of Perin del Vaga, a representative of second generation Raphael’s School. On the freeze along the four walls are depicted scenes from Adone’s life punctuated with beauty, vigor and nature personified by goddesses: Venus, Athena, Artemis and Earth. The masks in the corners represent young members of the Orsini family.
With certainty this work was executed by Paul Bril. During restorations in 1979, a monogram on the frame of the glasses was discovered, bringing to life its Flemish paternity (Bril means glasses in Flemish) and its birth date: 1581. Entering the room we are completely engulfed by a pastoral atmosphere which echoes the predilection for hunting during that period. The walls become “windows into the world”, perspective illusions of magical landscapes surrounding the ancient town of Monterotondo.
The Galley is known as “Gallery of Time” due to the decorations painted on the ceiling by roman artist Michelangelo Ricciolini. Light colours and graceful spaces allow to fully breathe the baroque atmosphere and period when the Barberini family replaced the Orsini. Inside the hall we can admire the lovely “Holy Family of the waterfalls”, recently attributed to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, son of the famous Domenico.