Carbognano, Municipal Palace
Regarding the evolution of the facts that led to the construction of the Palace of the Community of Carbognano, the sources refer us to the end of the 16th century, during one of the most prosperous periods of the village, when the castle belonged to Lavinia Della Rovere Orsini (granddaughter of Giulia Farnese), and in her absence, to her grandson Giulio Cesare Colonna. In these years there is the will to create an architectonic and urbanistic revival of the village with works of civic use (construction of roads inside and outside the castle, realization of new squares, of fountains, of conductor for the water and rearrangement of the churches). It was in this context that in 1575 the bases were laid for the birth of the place where the Community could have its own environment to be used for the Council meetings, without having to be hosted in the many places made available (the Church of St. Peter, the Castle of the Lord, or even in the stores of the village (Municipal Historical Archives of Carbognano, Old Regime Series 2/1, Acts of Resolution – Books of Councils, Years 1570 – 575. cc. 187r/v. November 30, 1575. ). The request to have its own House of the Community was made in the council through Giovan Battista Picciolotti, at the time Prior of the town but also agent of Lavina Della Rovere and Giulio Cesare Colonna, a request that in the following years will find a concrete development. In 1606 it is mentioned inside another town council regarding the works of the construction of the palace arrived by now to the ends: “It is made to know to the SS. VV. qualmente I’llustrissimo Gio. Baptista Picciolotto ci ha fatto intendere che per finire la fabbrica della nostra Comunità vole ma(n)dare M(astr)o Jacomo Mu(ratore) a finirla. et più sa ci bisogna am(m)onime(n)to de tutte le cose necessarie acciò indomodo habbia inperdere tempo et a quest’effetto se li fa sapere accio dispo(n)gano se ci sa da far venire o no. …. Germano Zuccaro advises … supra la 2° che li S(ignori) Priori facino l’am(m)onimento necessario per fenire la fabrica et se cominci da una ba(n)da della te(rra) et ogn’uno ne porti la sua rata de sassi et pozzolana che li sarà ordinato et se facci accudimento Ju(st)o accio possa lavorare et chi non la porterà li S(ignori) Priori facciano portarla da altri a spese loro”. (Archivio Storico Comunale di Carbognano, Serie Antico Regime 2/6, Atti Deliberativi – Libri dei Consigli, April 2, 1606, cc. 78v. 79r. ). In July of the same year “De ordine de SS. Priors was lit the candle in the house of the Community …” (Municipal Historical Archive of Carbognano, Ancient Regime Series 2/6, Deliberative Acts – Council Books, July 30, 1606, c. 94v. ), the Communal Council finally met in the House of the Community, revealing de facto that the Commune was therefore usable. From the beginning of the 1600’s there are several references that refer us to a “Sala Comunale” in which the council usually met, a room used in some cases also to collect the grain of the Community. The book of the entrances and exits of the Camerlengo of the Community testifies us from 1605 a series of payments that attest the developments of the realization of the House of the Community: the Communal room, the roof, the brickwork, the door, the windows etc, until arriving to the realization of the monumental spiral staircase (1606), that allowed to approach from the actual square of the Commune, to the superior rooms, staircase realized inside the tower of the clock. The staircase called “della Lumaca”, or “Scala della Conocchia”, still turns out to be one of the architectural peculiarities of the palace with its 73 steps, 15 meters high, made by master stone masons from Viterbo, Filippo and Desiderio, for the amount of 28 scudi, was probably completed in 1610, when we still find references to “the cause” of the Snail with the payment of stone masons from Viterbo concluded. The architect of the imposing realization of the helicoidal staircase and of the Palace was Mastro Gaspare Guerra from Rome, the same who designed the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte in the Rione Colonna, an architect documented in the payments of the Community until 1618, when he is mentioned for the “desegno della fabbrica di S.Angelo per sua mercede”, a work that will never be realized (Historical Archives of Carbognano, Series Ancient Regime, 7b/2, Book of Entrances and Exits of the Camerlengo, AA. 1610 – 1618). At the beginning of the seventeenth century we find the House of the Community becoming the operational center of civil life, also mentioned in the first procession made by the Community of Carbognano to greet the relics of St. Philip Neri in 1623, when from the building (Palazzo Comunale), mortals are shot to cheer the passage of the relics. In the decades to follow we find interventions of restructuring of the Municipal House, for the roof, for the brickwork, for the retaining wall of the bridge, for the bridge itself, for the hall, for the windows and for the doors, up to the interventions to put back in place the square below (Historical Archives of Carbognano, Ancient Regime Series 2/7, Acts of Deliberation – Council Books, April 1, 1612, cc. 107r – 107v.); (Archivio Storico Comunale di Carbognano, Serie Antico Regime, 7b/3, Libro delle Entrate e delle Uscite del Camerlengo, aa. 1610 – 1618). The succession of the great noble families that alternated in the castle of Carbognano, after 1630 elevated by the Pope Urban VIII to pincipality, and the princes of Carbognano, made the palace and the institutions live side by side with the Castle. The last great work that led to the final transformation of the palace took place between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, at the same time as the demolition of the ancient parish church of St. Peter once located next to the town hall. In place of the religious building was built an offshoot of the same palace, now visible in the premises placed at the top of the access ramp or bridge for the entrance to the castle. In XIX the century the staircase of the Snail was decorated to half run with the marble bust of Vittorio Emanuele II.
The interior of the municipal palace underwent a series of transformations that slowly erased many of its original architectural and decorative features. On the whole, the palace, while undergoing these alterations, has maintained its architectural features well on display in the grandeur of its.
The imposing palace faces with its main elevations on Piazza del Comune and on Piazza Castello. The façade facing piazza del Comune is characterized by the imposing clock tower which divides the structure into two side blocks and develops on three simple orders defined by string-course frames. At the base of the tower, at number 23 of piazza del Comune, the entrance that gives access to the palace through the staircase of the Conocchia or of the Lumaca. Moved to the right at number 25, the entrance for the elevators. This entrance was obtained in the seventies of the twentieth century by restoring an old butcher’s shop as is still testified by the old marble advertising sign still in situ above the portal. The tower is characterized by a small balcony where the flags of the European Community, of Italy and of the Municipality of Carbognano stand out. Above the balcony, there is the clock, which since the sixteenth century marks the time of the village. The other view can be enjoyed by crossing the bridge over the fountain that leads from Piazza del Comune to Piazza Castello. As soon as we finish the climb we find ourselves in front of one of the entrances of the Municipality, referable to the last development of the XIX century palace, formerly seat of the Post Office, today seat of the Demographic Services (Registry, Civil Status, Electoral and Statistics), and Social Services of the Municipality, piazza Castello, 21. On the lintel of the portal we still find engraved the epigraph “DOMUS COMUNITATIS”. Passed the arch of access to the square of the castle, beyond a small flight of stairs on the right that gives access to a secondary entrance, we arrive at number 18, in front of the main entrance of the Municipality. A large portal decorated by a simple trilithic molding, surmounted by an equally simple bracket supported by two triglyphs. To the right of the portal the heraldic coat of arms of don Francesco Colonna, characterized by the column on the left, by the basque for Gonfalonier of the State of the Church and by the stars on the right. closes at the top the crown of the principality surmounted by the column with the snake. The heraldic coat of arms was placed here in the ’95s during the administration of Giuseppe Laurenti, moved from Piazza San Filippo once to decorate one of the buildings overlooking the square.
Inside, even if the rooms have undergone alterations and divisions of space, there are survivals that testify to the beginnings of the past. In the rooms of the Demographic Services we find in the lowered vault of the first big room a fresco of the 19th century, where Saint Eutizio is represented with the palm of martyrdom and the three ears of wheat miracle, symbol of the Municipality of Carbognano. In the hall of the Mayor in the back wall, at the top right, two beccatelli survive, architectural elements to be referred to a more ancient structure of the castle once necessary to support protruding parts of a building. Always in the same room we find the sixteenth-century casket for municipal voting. This ancient container with its transparent walls allowed to see inside the sheets with the votes, without allowing to steal or alter the inserted sheets. A series of other objects that recall the past history of Carbognano are decorated not only in the hall of the Mayor but also in other rooms: An ancient advertising poster of the celebrations of Saint Eutizio and Saint Philomena martyr (1845), the Municipal Flag of the twentieth century, and many photos of the ancient monuments of the village.
E. ABBATE, Guida della provincia di Roma – volumi I e II, a cura del Club Alpino Italiano,1894.
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S. BARGELLINI, I monti del cimino, Bergamo 1914.
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Archivio Storico Comunale di Carbognano, Serie Antico Regim: 2/2; 2/3; 2/4; 2/5; 2/6; 2/7; 2/8; 2/11, Atti Deliberativi- Libri dei Consigli. = ASCC, SAR, AD – LC
Archivio Storico Comunale di Carbognano, Serie Antico Regime: 7b/2; 7b/3, Libro delle Entrate e delle Uscite del Camerlengo. = ASCC, SAR, LEUC Fonti Inedite