THE ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI PALACE IN PIAZZA VENEZIA
“Due to the events that involved it, the palace in Rome is part of the Country's history as well as the Company's. For Generali it is a source of pride, a historical landmark and legacy, and embodies our commitment to the future.” Eugenio Coppola di Canzano, CEO and Chairman of Assicurazioni Generali from 1980 (1991) to 1995.
The most distinctive of Assicurazioni Generali's buildings has a fascinating history linked to the square in which it stands. The maker of this far-sighted real estate investment was Marco Besso, then Director and later President of the Trieste insurance company: he sought to build Generali's headquarters in the very heart of Rome, a few yards from Trajan's Column and the Imperial Fora, providing a frame to the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. More than a century ago, he had understood the representative and symbolic role that the palace would have had in the life of the Company.
The development of the project took three years. Final approval was signed on July 23rd, 1902, and the building was completed in 1906 and opened in December of the same year to mark Assicurazioni Generali's 75th anniversary. Thanks to careful document research and selection carried out by Dr. Paola Puzzuoli of the Central State Archives, it has been possible to reconstruct the events that led to the current configuration. Photographs of the building site, final blueprints and handwritten documents – which are on display in the hallway of the Museum – mark some key steps in the building's construction.
During the four years between the demolition of Palazzo Torlonia and the completion of the new building, more than a hundred photographs were taken at regular intervals, each of which has a handwritten annotation on the back to certify the date, point of view and subject framed. The hand-drawn final blueprints are also very interesting – by looking at them one can almost “feel” the architect's pencil carefully drawing all the details and shaping the various parts of the building.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, following the completion of the monument to Victor Emmanuel II, first King of Italy, the reconfiguration project of Piazza Venezia engaged architect Giuseppe Sacconi, former design head of the monument. He was the staunchest supporter of the idea of erecting across the square a building that would reflect the shape of the fifteenth century palazzo that gives the square its name, in order to create two symmetrical and imposing wings to the triumphal monument to the King. The excavation of the foundations of the Generali building brought to light traces of more than two thousand years of history, providing a valuable opportunity to study and document the wealth of cultures and events that had made the area between the Forum of Trajan and the foot of the Capitoline Hill alive.