Palazzo Farrattini was built between 1514 and 1527 for Monsignor Bartolomeo II Farrattini, an illustrious prelate of the Papal Court which has been also Prefect of Saint Peter’s Basilica during the pontificate of Giulio II when Bramante was the architect of the new Vatican basilica. It was designed by the Florentine architect Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (Firenze 1484 – Terni 1546), above all famous as military architect (he realized also the Cittadella in Ancona, Rocca Paolina in Perugia and the Fortezza da Basso in Florence).
Contemporaries considered Palazzo Farrattini as a masterpiece insomuch as Giorgio Vasari wrote about it in 1550 inside his fundamental work entitled The lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects: “Messer Bartolomeo Farratino, for his own convenience and for the benefit of his friends, and furthermore to bestow honour on his own reputation for the perpetual memory of posterity, had a palace built by Antonio on the main square of Amelia, which is a very honourable object of great beauty”.Palazzo Farrattini is considered the prototype of a noble residence tipology that became typical during the later years. Its structure has been proposed again by Sangallo in Palazzo Baldassini and Palazzo Sacchetti in Rome and Palazzo Crispo in Orvieto. There is a suggestive theory about the use of this plan as a model for the coeval project of Palazzo Farnese in Rome that has been completed with some modifications by Michelangelo after Sangallo’s death.
The facade has an ashlar – work travertine decoration all around the main door and to the side extremities in order to smooth the rough edges off. The string-course cornices divide the facade into three vertical sections, recognisable for the three different types of windows that alternate bottom-up: the ground floor windows are made using a“kneeling down” style, the master floor windows are surmounted by a triangle-shaped gable and the top floor has peculiar windows with a curvilinear gable. Inside the building , the original pavement of the ground floor vestibule and of the atrium faced to the garden, the staicase that leads to the master floor and several rooms that still conserve old furnitures are of great interest.
The most significant room is the so-called Salone del Sangallo, probably decorated between 1570 and 1580, during the period of Cardinal Bartolomeo III Farrattini with a fresco frieze representing allegorical subjects, Roman generals and biblical episodes (Histories of Jewish Joseph), attributed to the painter Livio Agresti (Forlì 1505 – Roma 1579) and to his helpers among which some scholars from Amelia. The wooden ceiling moulding in the main master floor apartment are magnificent together with an imposing stone fireplace designed by Sangallo and later re-elaborated by the sculptor Ippolito Scalza (Orvieto 1532-1617) , which has been also the author of the funeral monument of Baldo Farrattini in the family chapel inside the Cathedral. Roman Baths In front of Palazzo Farrattini we can see some ruins belonging to Roman Age (above all some portions of opus reticolatum) that can be referred to a thermal structure, maybe a calidarium, datable to some time around the Ist Century A.D. Of remarkable interest are some Roman paving mosaic made of black and white tesserae situated inside the cellars of the facing palace. The mosaics are about more than 4 metres below the street level.