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Palaces - DUCAL PALACE


DUCAL PALACE

image of Ducal Palace

This is the seat of the Municipal Hall and of the Naturalistic Museum of Parco delle Pianelle. It can be considered, together with San Martino Basilica, the most representative monument of Martina artistic and archietectonic estate.It was built in the second half of the XVII cent, for the will of Petracone V Caracciolo, in the same place where once there the Orsini castle (XIV cent.) was.

This building is a combination of art of the salento area and of the work of local masters.
At the entrance there is an arch with bas-relieves in the trabeation. In the rooms, Domenico Carella's paintings represent biblical scenes, mitology and court life.

 

The Ducal Palace was built in 1668, on the remains of the ancient castle of Raimondello del Balzo Orsini, built in 1338.

The Ducal Palace, instead, was built by the eighth Duke of Martina, Petracone V Caracciolo, as you can see from the inscription on the portal architrave, that is the symbol of the clan power.

The project was great, stately and cost a lot of money ( the first work allotment cost 60.000 ducats) It was inspired by luxurious Roman palaces: there were 300 rooms, chapels, sheds, court, theatre and guest quarter. In the beginning, they thought this palace had been planned by Gianlorenzo Bernini, but recent investigations allotted it to Giovanni Andrea Carducci, from Bergamo, who probably worked on a plan assented by Bernini. Carducci made use of the local masters'art, that is said "the white powder art".
The palace, as it was originally planned, was never finished because of its cost. Only part of the eastern area was finished, thanks to Duke Francesco III, in 1773.The façade, in a typical Baroque style, is horizontally divided by a wrought iron balcony, made by local masters, and vertically divided by pilasters. The portal is wide with a pointed arch and it has two half- columns of Tuscan order. There is a lapidary inscription Petraconus V - fundamentis erexit / anno DNI MDCLXVIII and some militar decorations and apotropaic masks on the upper wall. A wide stair takes you to the Baroque portal, in a late Reinassance style,through which you get into the Royal Apartmens. There are golden rococò walls, ear-shaped and set along the same axis. They take you to precious rooms, some of which were painted by Domenico Carella in 1776: the Dukes'Chapel, the Arcadia hall, the Myth hall and the Bible hall.

The Avalos Wing

image of The Avalos WingThe Avalos wing is a part of the Ducal Palace.The Town Council bought it in 1974 and, before being restored, it was closed until april 2003.

This work cost 14.000 euros, it finished last march and thanks to it the new seat of the Municipal Police offices has been settled.

Now the Avalos wing is a sort of rich container inside which there are precious elements of the historic and cultural town property. For example, there is Father Giuseppe Grassi bust, a clay handmade article, made by the Master Salvatore Basile. It was recovered during the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the priest, who was a very important person among the clergy and the cultural circle of Martina. After finishing the restoration of the Avalos wing, they stated another work to restore the new council chamber. 70.000 euros were spent (they were left by the Administration of 2002). The restoration of the wide hall of the Ducal Palce noble floor last a very short period of time (from the 18th to the 27th of october) and the work was followed by the Superinendence together with the architect Camillo Dell'Anno.
The cement structures in the centre were eliminated. They had been made in the past when some works had started and never finished. The floor was restored together with the main entrance and the hall recovered its ancient magnificence.
The CCRE Board of Directors unveiled it last october, during a meeting about the future European Constitution, under the direction of the President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. In the past days, the furnishing of the room took place,too.The works were: white plastering, electric installation, emergency lights and restoration of indoor frames. The floor is made of "Trani", size 60x60, brushed, and in the centre there is a mosaic with the symbol of the city. The restoration of the main entrance was very careful and the stone part was rescued together with its natural olive wood state. The hall was furnished with classical national wholenut wood benches, orned with capitels and frames with a border shaped inside. The furniture was settled as an amphitheatre over a three-level structure, from 0 to 45 cm. high. The armchairs are high-backed, in a classical style.The hall was then finished with curtains and pelmets to the windows. Moreover, to better increase the value of the room, some white aluminium wall lamps were installed.

 

 Arcadia hall

image of Arcadia hall

The main themes of the internal paintings in this wonderful Ducal Palace Hall represent the Duke Francesco III in some rural life moments. All the people are represented in an idyllic and harmonious atmosphere.

The ducal family, musicians, courtiers, peasants look all the same. Here, human equality mirrors the illimistic ideals of the time.

image of image of Arcadia hall The four seasonsThe four seasons, painted on the hall sides, underline the importance of men work through the passing of time. On the ceiling there is "Hercules'apotheosis". He is received by Apollo, who marries Ebe to him. This painting is an allegory of the glory and immortality of the Duke Francesco III.

He got glory and immortality because he worked a lot to ensure wealth to his subjects and because he got, studying arts, a better nobilitas than his ancestors.

 

Myth Hall

image of image of Myth HallThe "myth" or "Ovidian" or "of metamorphosis" Hall represent different themes that can be read in a metamorphic key: "Elena's escape"- symbol of the family- is an allegory of filial love.

The episode of "Apollo and Dafne" celebrates virility as a moment of seduction. You find the same theme in the episode "Atlantis and Ippomene". The scenes portraying "Priamo and Tisbe"and "Nasso and Deianira" indicate conflicting values: on one hand there is marital love and allegiance, on the other infidelity, that has to be condemned and punished.Another important episode is "Hercules that frees Esione from a dragon", which was considered as an obliged act, a duty to accomplish. The vault frescoes are also very suggestive: "The Sun cart", "Narcissus at the font".

Bible Hall

Even the Bible Hall was painted by Carella portraying sacred episodes. Here, you can find a valuable pictorial and expositive linearity. The main episodes (on the right and left of the hall) are "Tobiolo's stories". These are symbols of filial pietas that exalt the sense of duty and devotion to the father's authority, typical elements of a patriarchal family.

On the wall at the end of the room there are : "Moses saved by the water", symbol of duty and charity; "David and Abigail", symbol of female care; "Rebecca at the well", symbol of chivalrous sense; "Salomè", symbol of luxury. On the ceiling you can see some scenes of the Deposition, of Tobia with the archangel Raphael; of the Judgement with some angels among torches and arrows under a rain of fire. Here, colours are very dark and portray a desolate and barren landscape.

From a stylish point of view the Bible Hall, compared to the others, is the most homogeneous because of its decorations and of its monochromatic representation.In the end: there are three halls that have different themes, painted with a peculiar chromatism, linked to the portrayed stories. All these elements have something in common: the exaltation of the glory of the Caracciolo Ducal family, in its whole material and spiritual magnificence.

The Dukes' Chappelle

image of The Dukes' ChappelleIn this chapel there is a stately altar made of polychrome and golden stone with some painted squares and with paintings of Saints and arabesques on the lateral walls.

On the altar basement there is the Caracciolo coat of arms, that is richly and powerfully decorated.