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Although recent studies in early modern architecture have illuminated the palace culture of the families associated with Rome's papal court, the complex social and architectural history of the city's feudal nobility has remained largely unexamined. As Rome's de facto rulers throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, ancient baronial families such as the Orsini established the political and physical contexts against which emerging curial families positioned themselves from the fifteenth century onward, and were thus fundamental in shaping Rome's early modern palace culture. This book on the Orsini family palace at Monte Giordano is the first monographic study of a major Roman baronial palace during this period. In addition to being the primary Roman stronghold of the Orsini, Monte Giordano was the site of influential architectural and artistic projects during the early Renaissance. Praised by prominent contemporary writers and architects including Giovanni Rucellai, Giorgio Vasari, and Lorenzo Valla, Monte Giordano served as a model for the ideal palaces discussed in treatises by Filarete and Paolo Cortesi. As this book demonstrates, it should also be acknowledged as Rome's earliest example of a Renaissance palace typology. Ultimately, Monte Giordano's evolution responded to the waning fortunes of Rome's baronial nobility, as the Orsini cultivated an intentionally feudal image of power that reacted to the opulent palaces of the curial families, and to the changing social and political topography of a city increasingly dominated by the papacy.
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