Monday, December 11, 2006
THE MEDICCI- RICCIARDI PALACE AND HAPPY 75TH BIRTHDAY TO RITA MORENO
RICCIARDI PALLACE AND THE CHAPEL OF THE MAGI-- FLORENCE, ITALY
This is my 150th blog entry since June 9th of this year. It's been interesting noting down the events of my life since that date and commenting on the events of and around my life as well. Although I don't have "daily adventures" I manage to write an "almost daily blog" entry. Today is Rita Moreno's 75th birthday. She is really an amazing performer. She is the only Hispanic performer who has earned an Oscar, an Emmy, A Golden Globe and a Tony award in her life and only one of nine total performers of any race who has achieved the same. Of course one of her greatest roles was in 1961's fiolm version of "West Side Story"-- an amazing musical. I did find out today something interesting. My family (under the Ricciardi name) once owned a pallace in Florence, Italy. This was in the late 16th century Unfortunatly, they had to sell the pallace in 1839. Michaelangello was born and spent the first seven years of his life in this magnificent pallace! My family herritage is one the most important monuments in Florence, a prototype of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Medici Riccardi Palace hosts temporary exhibitions and experimental virtual envinronment for museums and galleries. By 1460 the palace was complete (it was also the residence of Lorenzo the Magnificent), although in 1517 the original building was altered by closing the loggia and adding the two "kneeling" windows according to Michelangelo's project.After the transfer of Cosimo de' Medici to Palazzo Vecchio in 1540, after he became Grand Duke, the palace continued to be inhabited by the lesser members of the family until 1659, when Ferdinando II sold it to the Ricciardi marquises. (my long ago ancestors) It was at this time that the palace layout was enlarged and significantly altered. The most important works consisted in the large hall decorated with the frescoes of Luca Giordano that is one of the most significant examples of Baroque architecture in Florence, and in the new entrance staircase built by the architect Foggini. Baroque decorations were added also to the courtyard through the addition of old marbles belonging to the Ricciardi collection. Perhaps the most important section of the palace is still today the Chapel frescoed in 1459 by Benozzo Gozzoli representing the [Procession of the Magi. The frescoes explicitly referred to the train of the Concilium that met in Florence in 1439. As a matter of fact many of the personalities portrayed are wealthy protagonists of the time and members of the Medici family.This is the most typical example of a civil Renaissance palace. It was constructed according to an austere plan drawn up Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder in 1444. Home of the Medici for 100 years, it was then acquired by the Ricciardi family and today is the seat of the Prefecture and the Provincial Administration. Inside one finds an elegant courtyard, a small garden in the Italian style, and Benozzo Gozzoli's celebrated chapel, which he decorated in frescoes, representing the Appearance of the Magi (1459). In 1839, my family's ancestors ceeded the pallace to pay for taxes due the Italian government-- figures, huh?