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A Case of Double Identity: The Public and Private Faces of the Palazzo Tolomei in Siena

Max Grossman
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 72, No. 1 (March 2013), pp. 48-77
DOI: 10.1525/jsah.2013.72.1.48
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jsah.2013.72.1.48
Page Count: 30
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A Case of Double Identity
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Abstract

The Palazzo Tolomei (1270–75) was not only the private residence of a prominent Sienese family, but was also the first legislative headquarters of the Guelph commune. In A Case of Double Identity: The Public and Private Faces of the Palazzo Tolomei in Siena, Max Grossman argues that the unusual features and ornament of this building may be linked to the original public function of its ground-level hall and to the city’s allegiance to the papacy and the Angevin monarchy after 1270. As a hybrid civic-private edifice, the Palazzo Tolomei defies traditional categorization and calls into question our current understanding of the typology and function of civic palaces. Grossman suggests that as a new architectural type, the building served as the template for the initial versions of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

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