The Palazzo Ricci

The Palazzo Ricci Located in the heart of the Tuscan city of Montepulciano, the Palazzo Ricci is considered one of the most well-preserved Renaissance structures. With its simplicity and elegance the Palazzo is an example of the plain building style that was widespread in the 16th century. From its inner courtyard with a lovely Loggia, the visitor can see a panoramic view of the Tuscan hills.

The construction of the Palazzo was commissioned by Cardinal Giovanni Maria Ricci. Born in 1479 in Montepulciano, he was one of the most influential figures in the Vatican at the beginning of the 16th century. Between 1534 and 1535 he served Cardinal Farnese, a nephew of Pope Paul III. It was during this time that he commissioned the architect and master builder Baldassarre Peruzzi to construct a residence in his hometown of Montepulciano. A letter dating from October 5th, 1541 confirms the completion of the façade, the date marking the initial end of construction.

Until 1970 the Palazzo was owned by the descendants of Cardinal Ricci. Since then it has belonged to the Montepulciano community. From 2001 the Hochschule für Musik Köln has a 30 years lease in order to house its European Academy of Music Arts. The Palazzo Ricci offers 18 ample practice rooms and a small concert hall (Salone), a library, and a number of beautifully restored rooms along with a municipal theater.

The ideal environment for artistic work and its presentation!

History

The Palazzo Ricci by Baldassre Peruzzi is one of Montepulciano’s best preserved Renaissance buildings. It was built in the Via Ricci and is distinguished by a large portal set in huge stones approached by a broad ramp of steps. The simplicity and elegance of the palazzo exhibit the plain undecorated style common to the 16th century. The building was commissioned by Cardinal Giovanni Ricci.

The Cardinal was born in Montepulciano in 1479 A.D. and was one of the most influential cardinals in the Vatican at the beginning of the 16th century. He was a follower of Cardinal Antonio del Monte (an uncle of Pope Julius III) and formed alliances with some powerful Roman families. Ricci was under the protection of a number of Popes including Clement VII, Paul III, Julius III and Marcellus II (the last two having close connections with Montepulciano). From 1534 to 1535 Ricci served Cardinal Farnese, a nephew of Pope Paul III, and it was during this time that he commissioned the palazzo in his home town. The building’s design was entrusted to Baldassare Peruzzi and the exact date of the start of construction is not known, but apparently this was delayed by unexpected problems. This is documented by correspondence between October 1535 and May 1536 between Ricci and his brother Miniato who was placed in charge of the construction work and it finances.

A letter dated 1541 confirms the completed of the façade and the momentary cessation of the work. In future years this often happened due to Giovanni Ricci’s demands for modifications. Documentary information concerning the palazzo’s construction is next found in some accounts prepared in 1573 that in addition to the costs of the main construction show extra charges for newer sections of the building on the right and left of the façade. Also itemized is the cost of a wall parallel to the main structure which adjoined the courtyard to the Collazzi Quartier. This last was removed over fifty years ago but evidence of its position can still be seen in the middle of the present courtyard.

Because of its site near the Piazza Grande and the Municipo (Town Hall) – the seat of local government, the Palazzo is ideally situated for music concerts that are held in the beautifully frescoed Piano Nobile. The inner courtyard with its arcade and the nearby Teatro Poliziano are both available for performances.