Palazzo Chigi-Albani (Chigi-Albani’s Palace) – known as “Papacqua” was built between 1564 and 1572 by Cardinal Cristoforo Mandruzzo, bishop of Trento and Bressanone on Ottaviano Schiratti’s project.
Due to the Cardinal’s untimely death – 1578 in Villa d’Este, Tivoli – the project has never been completed.
Cardinal Mandruzzo, one of the most important actors of the Council of Trento, bought the feud of Soriano in 1561.
His friendship and contacts with other princes, cardinals and feudataries of Viterbo’s area (Vicino Orsini in Bomarzo, Alessandro Farnese in Caprarola) with whom he spares the passions for arts and studies leads to the realization of a building competing in beauty with Palazzo Farnese (Caprarola), Bosco Sacro (Bomarzo) and Villa Lante (Bagnaia).
His project is inspired by a great rock wall (peperino) from which springs a cold water flow.
The two main groups of sculptures (engraved directly into the mountain rock) remind a pagan (the she-faun with her three children and the giant horned figure refer to an episode of Arcadia) and a Christian myth (Moses originating water from the rock to quench the Jews’ thirst). Aside, four statues represent the four seasons.
Along the yard a series of pools and allegorical and grotesque masks with water springing from their mouth and a grotto, found during the restoration works.
Entering the “L”-shaped yard, we find the two main buildings: one with stables, warehouses and servants’ room and another one with the Cardinal’s rooms and – in the underground level – the kitchen and other warehouses.
To be noticed, some channels taking the water directly from the springs to the kitchen.
On the top of the these two buildings, there is a roof garden.
Upon the Cardinal’s death, the feud of Soriano goes to his nephew Fortunato who gives it to the Altemps family.
The Altemps keep the feud until the first part of XVIIIth century when the families Albani and Chigi give a new development to the village and Papacqua Villa was included in the urban structure.
The Chigis keep the palace until the end of ‘900s, when the whole structure was sold to private people.
Now belonging to the Municipality of Soriano nel Cimino, the structure hosts the Cultural Touristic Point with the picture gallery “Lucio Ranucci” and the documental Center “Tuscia Res”, being part of the village’s library with 3000 books and some 2500 maps and prints about Tuscia from 1400 to our days.
At road level, the water leaving the rock form the building rock, creates a waterfall entering a nice fountain-pool.