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The morning hour has gold in its mouth: the Casino dell’Aurora in Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi

The beautiful Casino dell’Aurora Pallavicini is part of the architectural complex of Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi, on the top of the Quirinal Hill. The Casino, which overlooks the Piazza del Quirinale and the Fountain of the Dioscuri, was erected between 1612 and 1613 at the behest of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who entrusted the construction to the Flemish architect Giovanni Vasanzio. The building – rising right above the ruins of the ancient Baths of Constantine, now incorporated in the basement – owes its name to the magnificent fresco depicting “The Aurora Chariot” that the Bolognese Guido Reni painted in 1614 on the ceiling of the grand hall. It is a so-called ‘reported picture’, that is, a framed fresco painted to resemple in its appareance a hanging painting. The work of Reni, one of the masterpieces of Roman classicism, depicts the young god Apollo in the chariot of the Sun, preceded by Aurora, wrapped in light veils, bringing light to the world. The fresco appears curiously inverted, but not for Reni’s mistake: infact, it was conceived to be contemplated not from the bottom to the top, as we do today, but reflected in the very shiny marbles of the floor.

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