Italian Senate seat: Palazzo Madama

Madama Palace, Italian Senate building, 1503​

The original nucleus of the building in January 1503 was included in the testamentary legacy of Sinulfo Ottieri, treasurer of Sixtus IV and bishop of Chiusi, to his brother Guidone, Count of Montorio: the latter first rented it and then sold it to Giovanni de Medici, who later became pope Leo X.

During the pontificate of Clement XII, in 1533, Madama Margarita, an eleven year old girl who came to pay homage to the pontiff before becoming the wife of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici, was hosted for a few days in the palace.

Eight years later, Madama Margarita returned there, this time the wife of Ottavio Farnese, nephew of the new Pope Paul III, as a usufructuary because she was the widow of Duke Alessandro.
Margarita soon won the sympathy and affection of the Romans who called her “Madama” and this appellation was also linked to the palace.

In 1750 the palace was purchased by Benedict XIV who assigned it to the seat of the Governor of Rome, who thus left the previous seat in via del Governo Vecchio. The intended use, however, changed frequently: seat of the court, as well as police and prison, seat of the Ministry of Finance and Pontifical Diligences: on this occasion the Lotto was drawn from the central balcony, which previously took place in Palazzo Montecitorio.

In 1870 the palace was definitively chosen as the seat of the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy, which later became the Republic.

The façade on Piazza Madama has been defined as “picturesque”, almost made by a painter due to its aspect richer in pictorial and decorative elements than in architectural structures of a certain importance. It has three floors with nine windows each and is limited by an angular ashlar at both ends.

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