The premises – historical notes
The building in which Confagricoltura has its headquarters was originally the residence of Cardinal Andrea della Valle, Bishop of Crotone and Miletus and famous humanist and patron. The palace was built in around 1510, on the so-called via papalis (now Corso Vittorio Emanuele II) which in the past hosted papal processions. According to Giorgio Vasari, the court, the shed and the internal façade were designed by Lorenzetto (1494-1541) from the circle of Raphael; according to other scholars either Andrea Sansovino or Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane should be considered the architects who conceived the building.
The palace was built by merging two pre-existing buildings (as shown by a bay of a medieval porch next to the entrance, discovered during restoration works in 1941), which belonged to della Valle family. The two buildings had to be almost entirely rebuilt due to the decision of Pope Sistus IV, who in 1484 had requested their demolition after that della Valle and Colonna families had been defeated by Orsini family in one of the recurrent feuds.
At the beginning the sixteenth century, the building was enlarged up to Piazza della Valle. During the first years of the following century, a new floor was added. When the Cardinal died (1534), the building passed onto his ex-sorore nephew Quintio de’ Rustici, and subsequently to Capranica Family.
The building, then, returned to della Valle family (Pietro, 1586-1652, the so-called “pilgrim” for his travels to the East) and was eventually acquired by del Bufalo family, in 1633, as a consequence of the wedding between Pietro’s daughter Romibera and Marquis Benedetto del Bufalo.
Their son, Ottavio Federico, began in 1711 restoration works which lasted for 10 years. He decided to move the gate, which was before aligned with the courtyard, down left and placed a headstone to emphasize the tie between del Bufalo’s della Valle’s.
Furthermore, he decided to build a new façade at the rear of the building, new cowsheds and made the plant of the building more regular.
In 1810, Marquis Rinaldo del Bufalo-della Valle, due to his adverse financial situation, sold the last few antique bas-reliefs from the courtyard and built in it a cowshed and a toolshed, by occluding two bays which were then restored in 1941.
On Marquis Rinardo’s death (1828), the building passed onto his sons who decided to build a mezzanine floor from the lofts of the second floor and a new pillar in the southern loggia of the courtyard to sustain a wall resting in false on a vault.
In 1941 the building was sold to Confederazione Fascista del Commercio and restored by Architect Carlo Forti. The restoration works mainly focused on the courtyard. Windows and bays, which had been previously occluded, were restored, and the courtyard partially regained its lustre. Unfortunately, the practice used to remove the plastering did not spare the court façades, the angle near S. Andrea della Valle and the late medieval arch next to the gate.
In 1948, Confagricoltura established its headquarters at Palazzo della Valle and completed conservation works.