By Martina Bollini

Neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier died on 1st February 1839 in Rome. His career was launched in 1786, when he was appointed architetto cameraleby Pope Pius VI. Valadier also worked as archaeologist and urban designer. Between his archeological contributions, there are the rediscovery of the path of the ancient via Flaminia and the restoration works at the Milvian Bridge and at the Arch of Titus. Under Napoleon, Valadier was responsible for the excavations and the reorganization of the Imperial Forums area.

The most significant work by Valadier was the design of the Piazza del Popolo (1793-1822). At the center of its elliptical plan, the pre-existing Egyptian obelisk was relocated to a point on axis with three radiating streets. The square was then linked via stairs and terraces with the Pincio gardens, where the architect renovated the ancient Caffè del Pincio (now called Casina Valadier).

Other remarkable works of Giuseppe Valadier include the façade of the church of San Pantaleo, the reorganization of Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, a new design for the Valle Theater, the construction of Villa Torlonia. One of the last great villas built in Rome prior to the modern era, this building was later used by Benito Mussolini as his state residence.

Pietro Labruzzi, Portrait of the Architect Giuseppe Valadier, c. 1795, oil on canvas, Chicago, Art Institute.  

Canaletto, The Arch of Titus in Rome, 1742, oil on canvas, Windsor Caste, Royal Collection. The painting shows the monument’s condition prior to Valadier’s restoration.

Arch of Titus, Rome.

Giuseppe Valadier, Final project for Piazza del Popolo, 1813, Rome, Biblioteca dell’Istituto di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, Fondo Lanciani.

Piazza del Popolo, Aerial view.

Giuseppe Valadier, Casina Valadier, 1816-1817, Rome.

Giuseppe Valadier, Villa Torlonia, 1802-1806, Rome. 

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