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The Senate buildings - Palazzo della Minerva


The also called "Palazzina della Minerva" was erected in the square that bears the same name, adjacent to the old convent of the Dominican friars. We can appreciate to what extent the building has been changed looking at pictures of the square in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The obelisk in the middle of the square rests on a marble elephant designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, symbol of intelligence and strength, also known as "Minerva's Chick".

From 1849 to 1867, the French troops defending the independence of the Papal States after the fall of the Roman Republic were quartered here. It was subsequently reorganised under the supervision of architect Andrea Busiri Vici Sr. to house the Pontifical Latin-American College.

When Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, the Ministry of Education was located here, until the mid-1920s when it was moved to Viale del Re ('King's Avenue', now Viale di Trastevere). Then it housed the offices of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and, later, the Scientific Research Ministry. In 1991, Palazzo Minerva was transferred to the Senate and President Giovanni Spadolini decided to move the Senate Library there. Named after him, it was opened to the public in spring 2003, after long renovation works.

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