Passions & Places

Raffaello Sanzio's house

Casa Raffaello
Urbino, Via Raffaello Sanzio, 57
Raffaello Sanzio
(Urbino, 1483 - Roma, 1520)

Raffaello birth place is part of the ‘Museo Diffuso’ project. It is a specialized Museum. This precious building was bought in 1875 by the ‘Academia Raffaello’ (Raffaello Academy). It was then restored and made the headquarters of the academy.

Raffaello was born in the house of his father, Giovanni Santi, on 6th April 1483. There he initiated himself to the Art of painting following in his father’s footsteps. He was in fact a painter and a writer of treatises himself. At the time when Raffaello’s mother died, in 1500, he was already apprenticing at Perugino’s workshop, in Perugia. He soon moved to Florence (1505) and was then called by the Pope himself to Rome (1508). 

It was Bramante that advised the Pope to do so and it was him again that influenced the architectural style of Raffaello. He soon became the favourite artist at the Vatican court. His researches on space were best expressed in ‘Cappella Chigi’ (Chigi’s Chapel), in Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome and in ‘Palazzo Pandolfini’ in Florence. 

The house, built in the fifteenth century, was bought by Giovanni Santi in 1460. He was an humanist a painter and a poet. He worked at the Federico da Montefeltro court. The house was a place where living space and workshop coexisted. It was built inspired to the Palazzo Ducale, as the style of the fifteenth century wanted. The building has a small courtyard that once should had been a porch that led to the workshop. 

Frames and doors inside follow the fashion of the time and so do the typical stone chairs, the panelled ceiling and the windows outlook. Probably the windows on the first floor underwent restoration in 1600. In 1653 the building was bought by an architect from Urbino, Muzio. 

The ‘Accademia Raffaello’ founded in 1869 by Pompeo Gherardi, became owner of the house and started to sponsor researches about the life and works of Raffaello. On the first floor visitors can appreciate the beautiful panelled ceiling and the painting ‘L’Annunciazione’ (The Annunciation) by Giovanni Santi and copies of some works of Raffaello dating back to 1800. 

There is then a small room, probably Raffaello was born in there. A drawing, supposedly by Bramante (Fermignano, 1444 – Rome 1514) is worth having attention and so it is the collection of Renaissance ceramics, temporarily kept there but part of the Volponi collection. On the upper floor there are the offices of the Accademia, but also manuscripts, portraits, coins, that make a complete celebrative and evocative nineteenth century collection.

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