While the development of Italy’s early modern economy has received a vast amount of scholarly attention, a lacuna persists when one turns to the architecture of the very buildings used for monetary exchange and deposit. Exploring this understudied subject, the paper focuses on the sites of the Roman branches of the Altoviti, Chigi, Fugger, Medici and Strozzi banks active in city’s Rione di Ponte district ca. 1490–1530. The location of these banks is analyzed, as is their architectural articulation. The paper argues that Julius II’s early cinquecento urban reforms in the area responded in part to the architecture of buildings that housed financial operations, deliberately using a distinct visual language to establish a papal presence in the neighborhood. The paper also confronts a long persistent demarcation of the Renaissance palazzo as domestic architecture, demonstrating that sites of business and leisure could overlap in the early modern city.
Conference was held May 13-15, 2010, sponsored by the University of California, Rome with ACCENT and with the collaboration of the Istituto storico italiano per il Medioevo, the Biblioteca Vallicelliana, the Archivio Storico Capitolino, and the Castello Odescalchi di Bracciano.