Location : SMooHS > Pallazzo Malvezzi

Pallazzo Malvezzi

General Information

The Palazzo Malvezzi de' Medici in Bologna, Italy, is home to the government of Province of Bologna. It was built by the Malvezzi family from 1560 onwards, thanks to a project by the architect Bartolomeo Triachini (Bartolomeo Tassi 1516-1587). It was once the Malvezzi De' Medici family’s private residence, a wellknown family from the XII century. The prestige of the family increased in the XVI century, when to its surname was added the De' Medici one, whom were Duques of Florence, after having obtained the protection of Pope Leone X. So, starting from 1560, Bartolomeo Triachini built the urban residential palace for the Malvezzi de’ Medici family in the place of a previous smaller house by the same owners, and extending the building on part of the churchyard or sagrato of the church of San Giacomo Maggiore of the Augustinians. In 1725, the Palace was enriched with the Bibienesco stairway, designed by Alfonso Torreggiani and Francesco Bibiena, while the “Palazzo” underwent radical restyling in the second half of the 19th century to house the family of the newly married Giovanni Malvezzi, the last of the family to live in the building. Further works changed the original plan and spatial arrangement in the 1930s, in order to adapt the site as the premises of the local province administration.

In fact, the building is characterised by the rigorous framework of the main façade, with cruciform pillars supporting nine semicircular arches. Over the porch, sandstone beams support the pilaster strips of the noble floor and are connected to the superior flange. The highest floor is adorned with decorations. The façade on Via Zamboni creates a rhythmical pattern of classical orders, from the Doric at the ground floor, to the Ionic at the noble floor, and, finally, to the Corinthian at the second floor. On the ground floor, Tuscan pilasters on raised bases define the arches of the porch on Via Zamboni and blind bows with architraved windows on Rossini square; at the upper floors, Ionic and Corinthian pilasters frame windows with curvilinear and triangular gables; decorative elements of classical style enrich both sides. A large, originally irregular court d’honneur is the core of the spatial organization of the house. The side façade, facing Piazza Rossini, is designed following the same framework as the main façade, with nine windows for each floor. On its right, there is the house where Benedetto XIV (Prospero Lambertini), the most famous Pope from Bologna, was born. On this side façade, the entrance of the building is located at the opposite of the access arch under the porch in via Zamboni; this compositive solution shows the search for symmetry, while unfinished masonries still indicate the failed intention to continue the construction up to Via San Vitale. The fronts towards the inner courtyard after the 20th century transformations recall the archi-tectural drawing of the structure. The representative and stately rooms of the residence are on the first floor, or piano nobile. The access to these rooms is through a loggia and the monumental stairs built in the 18th century. Reception, dining, living rooms, and a ballroom were lined along Via Zamboni and Piazza Rossini sides, all re-decorated by local artists during the refurbishment of the 1850s.The noble floor rooms, now hosting representative functions, are particularly interesting for the painted ceilings, realised by Francesco Cocchi and Andrea Pesci between 1852 and 1853. Perhaps the most noteworthy one is located in the Council Room, painted by Onorato Zanotti following Cocchi’s sketch.

Activities within the project


  • Short time wireless monitoring (deformation, inclination, acoustic emissions) during load test of oval room ceiling
  • Wireless Monitoring of the “oval room”
  • Wireless Monitoring of the “red room” crack & tilt
  • Monitoring by AE on timber element in the roof during load test


  • Modelling of the whole building with definition of critical points: peaks of stress, comparison with crack pattern.
  • Structural analysis of oval room’s ceiling

On-site Testing:

  • Geometrical survey
  • Crack pattern survey
  • Visual inspection of ceilings
  • Endoscopic investigation of ceiling of oval room
  • IR thermography: outdoor survey in order to qualitatively evaluate the evolution of materials deterioration & indoor monitoring in order to qualitatively evaluate cracks opening, material degradation, frescoes detachments, etc.
  • Investigation of moisture capillary rise in masonry by GPR
  • Crack pattern investigations by sonic/impact-echo/GPR
  • Decayed/moisture areas in timber elements by GPR
  • Deteriorated areas in timber elements by IR
  • Load tests on ceiling of oval room and on timber elements on the roof
  • Study of swelling and shrinking in timber elements in combination with repeated non destructive testing
  • Sampling on stone and bricks for decay and salt content by lab physical-chemical analysis. Comparison with module in laboratory. Aim: Measurement of distribution of humidity (not content). Better control of degradation parameters.
  • Vibration measurements in correlation with traffic

WP6: Project Report

Created by: admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 14 of February, 2012 13:35:17 CET by admin.