This edifice was constructed utilizing part of the pre-existing Renaissance palace of the Vipereschi family from the 15th century and dates back to the period of Pope Pius V (1775-99).
Tarchna, Corneto, Tarquinia
(seat of Tarquinia Agricultural University)
The completion of the building was carried out by P.G. Massei, dean of the “Conservatori” of Rome in 1782. One side of the building faces “Via della Salute”, with a large window where the Vipereschi coat of arms and an inscription is placed. In 1627 and continuing throughout the papacy of Urban VIII, the palace was transformed into a prison for clergymen who had violated ecclesiastical laws and became known as “Ergastolo” or “Pia Casa di Penitenza” (Life imprisonment or The Pious Home of Penance). In 1728 the building was restored and when Corneto was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1871 it ceased to function as a prison. In 1878 the structure became the first home of the Municipal Museum which was soon transformed into the National Museum by the Municipality and the “Università Agraria” (Agricultural University). In 1875 when Giuseppe Garibaldi (deemed one of the makers of Modern Italy) was visiting the city, he was given hospitality in this very palace. The episode was commemorated with a bust of this Risorgimento hero and recorded in the inscribed plaque beneath it, which now decorates the facade of the building. Currently this building is the seat of the Agricultural University, an important governing body which has the primary responsiblity of administering the municipal lands and properties according to the traditions pertaining to Civic Use. The facade of the structure is harmonious in its architectural design, demonstrating great balance between the usage of formal and neoclassical elements. A cistern was discovered while cleaning the building, yet it cannot be dated accurately due to the lack of historical sources. It is located at the end of the central entrance hallway below road level and consists of three rooms: two filtering chambers and a water-storing facility, which can be accessed from a well opening out onto the pavement. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit this building, but drawings and photos can be viewed by clicking on this link: http://xoomer.virgilio.it/cisterna/.