Is one of the hidden jewels in Rome being destroyed in order to make way for a carpark?
Palazzo di Spada in central Rome was built by the architect Baronino in 1540. In 1632 it was sold to Cardinal Spada, who commisoned the Baroque architect, Borromino to create the famous arcaded courtyard, which presents itself as 37 meters long optical illusion, although it is in fact only 8 meters. Apart from the administrative offices of the ‘Consiglio di Stato’ it holds the Galleria Spada with a huge collection of 16th and 17th century paintings, still hung in the 17th century manner, frame-to-frame.
Some years ago an underground car-park was planned underneath the garden behind the Palazzo di Spada. As usually – this being Rome – the building had to be stopped because of the archaeological finds of a Roman house. In 2000 the finalisation was stopped due to bureaucratic impediments. Now, however, the construction is being finalised and currently a ramp is being constructed to feed the underground.
Together with a profusion of 30 parking-slots in the Baroque garden between the Tiber and Via Capo di Ferro this – in a city where driving is practically forbidden – this is going to serve the Italian bureaucrats overseeing the legality of public administration throughout Italy.
Currently fountains from the 16th century are being dismantled, and bulldozers are digging up the garden behind. This has enraged a wide variety of what the Italians call “no-a-tutto”.
However, it appears that the plan is to use the new parking spaces as a way of getting rid of the app. 30 cars currently parked at the border of the garden in the courtyard of the Palazzo itself, after which, it is claimed, access for the tourists to the building and the gallery will be greatly improved.
Why the employees in the Consiglio di Stato need so many parking lots in a city which has otherwise been turned over to pedestrians is quite another matter.