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Its origin dates back to the first half of the 16th century

when the family already owned an area “where the fortress ruins stood”, that is in the Cassero district and in the parish of the Duomo, at the highest point of the town, the Gomero hill.


The high social prestige enjoyed by the Fiorenzi family since the 13th century

was confirmed and increased in the 16th century by Anton Giacomo and his son Teodosio, directed from the early years of his life towards a brilliant ecclesiastical career, first in Osimo and then in Rome.

Teodosio was born in Osimo in 1535, but lived for a long time in Rome, as some of his family members had done in the previous and following centuries. As early as 1553, he was part of the high spheres of the Roman clergy at the service of the Bishop of Acqui, Bonaventura Pio da Costacciaro.

In 1561 he was appointed canon of the Cathedral of Osimo by Pope Pius IV. His successor, Pope Pius V, born Antonio Michele Ghislieri (1504/1572) and elected to the papal throne in 1566, appointed him his secret chamberlain with functions of minister of memorials and manager of epistolary exchanges with the rulers of the time: a ‘private secretary’ as we would define him today, an office which Teodosio held until 1572, the year of the pontiff’s death.

In consideration of the prestigious position held by Teodosio in Rome, the Town of Osimo donated plots of land in Montecerno, on the way to Offagna, to the Fiorenzi family in 1569. Shortly afterwards in the same year, Teodosio obtained a ‘motu proprio’ from Pope Pius V, establishing the County of Montecerno and conferring the title of Count in perpetuity on him and his family.

In 1571, after Antonio had started restoration work on the church of Santa Maria, which already existed on that hill, next to the ruins of an ancient castle, the Pope granted him patronage thereof, with the commitment to maintain, increase and preserve it. Thus, the Abbey of Castel Baldo grew on the ruins and Count Fiorenzi was appointed patron of the abbey by the Pope, with the privilege of appointing the abbot who would succeed him upon his death.

Subsequent Pope Sixtus V, born Felice Peretti (1521/1590) and elected to the papal throne in 1585, wanted Teodosio to become the tutor of his beloved great-grandson Alessandro, appointed Cardinal of Montalto by the Pope himself in 1585, at just 14 years old.

Monsignor Teodosio must have earned the Pope’s total trust for his undisputed moral qualities and unconditional spirit of priestly service in all those years, so much so that in 1588, upon the death of Bishop Francesco Fermani, he was appointed Bishop of Osimo by Sixtus V.

He did not immediately return to his hometown despite having come into possession of the family palace in Piazza Duomo since 1578. He had been donated it by his father together with the furniture, the various buildings used as warehouses and the external areas of the property: a courtyard (as it is defined in the documents) in front of the building, surrounded by a high boundary wall, obtained from the municipality in 1568, and the so-called “Fiorenzi gardens”, granted in perpetual rent to the family by the Cathedral Chapter, included in between the palace courtyard wall and the north city walls. Here there was a building serving as a stable and a carriage storage, embellished with a lemon house and delightful spaces and an aviary (description and drawing for an expansion project, never fulfilled, contained in Volume XIX, class 2, Fiorenzi Archive).

In 1567 and 1568 Elisa, Palmiero and Cesarina Jannicoli sold to Antonio (Anton Giacomo, Ed.) Fiorenzi numerous houses in Domo’. A few years are likely to have passed from the time of purchase to the construction of the palace and when Teodosio received it as a gift from his father, ten years before becoming Bishop, the main structures may have already been entirely built, probably except for the façade and the decorations in the entrance hall.

The construction of the palace also involved the morphological arrangement of the square: the road level was lowered in order to create a direct and convenient connection between the patrician residence and the Cathedral, for a unified vision of architecture and urban planning.

The palace is likely to have been completed first by Bishop Teodosio and then by the second count Fiorenzi, Decio, who the count had ‘the hall at Domo built by for the new house’ in 1950 (Fiorenzi Archive). Everything suggests that the ‘hall’ is to be found at the entrance on the ground floor, embellished with an Attican strip painted in panels with noble, bishop and papal coats of arms, alternating with views of landscapes surrounded by grotesque motifs. The beautiful ceiling has coffers which, according to what can be deduced from what remains of the decoration, were all painted in cobalt blue with a golden star in the center, while the beams enclosing them and the wooden shelves that support the beams themselves resting on the walls still appear painted with the same geometric and floral motifs that frame the panels of the abovementioned Attican strip: an elegant correspondence in a carefully thought-out project. Finally, a large, isolated coat of arms of Sixtus V appears in an eminent position on the southern wall, between two tall windows overlooking Via Gomero.

On the sides of the entrance that leads to the hall there are two large rooms with vaulted ceilings decorated with very interesting stuccoes.

The hall gives directly access the ‘piano nobile’ (noble floor), as ancient documents define it, through a door that opens on the wall facing the entrance to the same room. The door is surmounted by the seventeenth century bust of Teodosio Fiorenzi junior, third count of Montecerno, inserted in an oval recess created in the wall. This noble apartment develops along the longitudinal axis of the building up to Piazza Gramsci, formerly Piazza Cavallerizza.

Subsequent and important structural modification work was carried out on the palace in the 19th century on the occasion of its division ‘from heaven to earth’ into two distinct properties: the one overlooking Piazza Duomo and the rear one, on Cassero.

The large seven-flight staircase dates back to the year 1800, built to reach the first and second floors, on the occasion of the famous wedding between Count Giovanni Fiorenzi and Countess Aloisia Ferretti from Ancona.

In the rear part of the building, on the ancient noble floor, a new hallway was created with ‘enfilade’ rooms. This hallway stands on an arched portico which opens on two sides onto an internal courtyard, containing an ancient cistern.

Below this apartment there is a large portion of ancient caves dug into the sandstone, which characterize almost the entire subsoil of the historic center.


Vaulted ceilings decorated with very interesting stuccoes.

The entire building occupies an entire block orthogonal to the square, along the east/west axis, and is surrounded by three streets.

Going up the street that leads from the Piazza del Comune to the Cathedral (via Antica Rocca), the main front looks like the scenic backdrop of a theater that has the square as an audience. The main entrance, the hall and the original noble floor are in fact arranged in line with the space of the square, as if searching for a dialogue, through visual connection, with the Cathedral complex, and clearly indicating the designer’s desire to generate admiration and, at the same time, to underline the link between the family and the bishopric.

The Renaissance-style faux ashlar characterizes the entire surface of the main façade: on the ground floor the elements were shaped in relief in two sizes with the thicker ashlars arranged in the central part where the arched entrance opens, topped by three marble coats of arms: of Pope Sixtus V, of the Fiorenzi family and of Pope Pius V. On the contrary, the ashlars on the first and second floors are flat.

On each floor, five openings with large, finely molded frames punctuate the space in a regular manner. The gables are strongly projecting with circular profiles alternating with triangular ones, both horizontally and vertically, thus producing an unusual, chiasmatic X-shaped outlook. Above the noble floor the square openings are refined by lateral facings in which geometric elements alternate with cartouches, while the gables alternate volutes with broken segments.

Angular pilasters emphasized by shaped ashlars support the entablature characterized by well-designed steps to close the design of the façade.

Thanks to their knowledge in the Roman context, it can easily be inferred that to complete their residence the Fiorenzis sent for an architect capable of designing the façade both in a contemporary style and in keeping with the position and prestige of the family.

The many architectural elements, albeit piled up in a relatively small space, design a façade with cultured and precious references that identify Palazzo Fiorenzi as an example of formal and spectacular refinement in the context of sixteenth-century architecture in Osimo.

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