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In Rome, I Saw Written On Top Of A Door

In Rome "I saw written on top of a door."     (Inferno, III, v. 11, Dante)

In Rome, hidden a corner of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, one will find the last remnant of the Academia dell’ Arcadia, an esteemed group of alchemists, formed four centuries ago. The Porta Magica, or Magic Door is a monument that was constructed in the last decades of the 17th century by the Marquis Maximilian Palombara on the property of his country villa on the Esquiline Hill. His villa was sometimes referred to as the home of the ‘Alchemical Cenacle’, the literary clique with the abdicated Queen Christine of Sweden, as its central figure. There was more than one door, but only this one had been saved from the demolition of the villa during the late 19th century when the City of Rome decided to build the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II on the site.

The Marquis Maximilian Palombara (Image © Dr Roberto Volterri)

The Marquis Maximilian Palombara (Image © Dr Roberto Volterri)


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