Key to Umbria: Orvieto

Palazzo Sforza Monaldeschi della Cervara (1570-4)

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According to Giorgio Vasari, Simone Mosca executed “the ground plans of some houses for the honourable Counts della Cervara”.   These probably included the palace that was commissioned by Sforza Monaldeschi della Cervara.  The design is unusual for Orvieto in that the palace has an internal courtyard surrounded by a loggia.


The historian Monaldo Monaldeschi, who was the brother of Sforza, recorded in 1584 that the palace was extended after the reign of Pope Pius IV (died 1565).  Ippolito Scalza, who designed ten windows (1572) and the ceiling of its living room (1574), presumably brought the project to completion.

The Jesuits were temporarily housed here when they arrived in Orveto in 1621.  They left for SS Apostoli four years later.

Orazio da Marsciano acquired the palace in the early 17th century, and it remained in his family for over 200 years.  At the end of the 19th century, it was acquired by the Salesians, using a donation from the Lazzarini family.  In 1893, Pope Leo XIII approved its adaptation by Paolo Zampi to form the Collegio Leonino.  The palace now houses the Istituto Statale d'Arte.

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