Palazzo della Marina is an interesting, original and imposing example of turn-of-the-century architecture. The whole structure covers an area of 31,000 sq metres, (11,500 indoor and 4,580 between courtyards and gardens) totaling over 280,000 cubic metres. The architect, Giulio Magni (Velletri 1859 - Rome 1930) started to work on the project in 1912, and completed it on October 26, 1928, day of its inauguration. Magni managed to juxtapose Art Nouveau decorative forms with echoes of seventieth century Roman architecture, the so called “Barocchetto” and the harsh lines of industrial buildings, resulting in a style far from the Fascist new trend.
Magni took as his models both convents and the early ministries, creating a higher central courtyard on the same level as the Lungotevere and four service courts on a lower level. At the heart of the whole structure is the main staircase resembling a monumental bow-window protruding into the main courtyard, where Magni was able to express his monumental vein. The façade features a huge triple entrance, entirely built in travertine, surmounted by three imposing three-light windows, and flanked by two gigantic anchors taken from Austrian battleships: the "Viribus Unitis," sunk during World War I, and the "Tegetthoff", a war booty given to Italy in 1919 and dismantled in 1925 in La Spezia. The rear façade of the building looks out onto an interior garden court and an elegant surrounding wrought-iron gate designed by Magni himself. The building’s official rooms feature precious marbles, nautically inspired furnishings, wood paneling and allegorical frescoes and stucco work, as in the office of the Chief-of-Staff.
Hall of Marbles
The Hall of Marbles (originally the Minister’s office) is richly decorated and solemn in aspect. Huge windows overlook the Tiber river and its furnishings are simply astonishing. However, the waiting room is
highly surprising and unexpectedly lit from above by a skylight decorated with an eloquent fascist emblem. In the centre is a large marble table (whence the name of the Hall). The rarest marbles are:
- Cottanello (coming from the same quarries as the coloumns in Saint Peter’s Square)
- Botticino stone
- African yellow
- Carrara white
- Siena yellow
- Belgian black
- Corniale from Gorizia
- Red Filettole stone
- Basaltine lava stone from Bagnoregio
On the walls are some precious stucco works, allegorical frescoes, Barocco backgrounds and nautically inspired furnishings. At the centre of the ceiling is a 1928 painting by Antonio Calcagnadoro.
The library of Palazzo della Marina was inaugurated simultaneously with the Palazzo on October 26, 1928 and it represents a fine example of architect Giulio Magni’s ability to combine baroque style with Art Nouveau decorations. The walls of the library are entirely lined with books, arranged on three levels accessed by three spiral staircases in wrought iron and brass. All the details present in the library are a reminder of the sea: from the seahorse shaped handles of the doors, to the anchors on the banisters and the brass silhouettes of vessels hiding the heating system in all the rooms.
The Central Library contains over 40,000 modern books and about 3,000 ancient books and manuscripts coming from the former Ministry Library hosted in the Sant’Agostino convent. An integral part of the library is the newspaper section, specialized in laws and decrees, official documents, parliament acts, Italian and foreign naval magazines and publications.
The central library offers books on:
- military art and science;
- oceanography,hydrographhy, astronomy, navigation, meteorology;
- organization sciences;
- political, statistical, economical, actuarial sciences and demography;
- international relations;
- sociology, psychology;
- constitutional, civil, penal, administrative rights, penal military justice, law of war, humanitarian law, Community and international law;
- national accounting;
- architecture and ingeneering.
For information you can contact the staff at:
email@example.com or call (0039) 0636803365.
Guided Tours of Palazzo della Marina
The Chief-of-Staff organizes guided tours every first and third Saturday of the month, from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visits can be booked in advance by calling these numbers: (0039) 0636805251 or 0636804863.