History

The history of the building

The first settlements on the site of the building date back to the eleventh century, to the period of maximum power of the maritime Republic of Pisa; the element of “casatorre” in stone belongs to a little later epoch (12th century), while the underlying road, still visible in the corridor on the ground floor that leads to the entrance of temporary exhibitions together with the ancient building structures, is datable to a period between the end of the 12th and the early 13th century.

The building was placed in a strategic position, at the entrance of the bridge that already crossed the river in the 10th century, in front of Porta Aurea of the pre-communal city, near the ancient church of S. Cristina (where S. Caterina of Siena will receive the stigmata) and a short distance from the house of the important Gambacorta family, today the seat of the Municipal Council. The building has obviously suffered destructions over the centuries, reconstructions, modifications and embellishments by its various owners, often exponents of the most powerful families of the city. In the Middle Ages the building belonged to Sismondi, Buonconte and Giovanni dell'Agnello, the first and only "Doge" of Pisa, who built his residence there in the mid-14th century. Subsequently the complex passed to Sancasciano and Del Testa, to whom we owe the late 16th-century structure kept until the 18th century, when it was the subject of further modifications, which mainly affected the interior. The Palazzo then belonged again to a branch of the Del Testa family, then to Bracci Cambini and Archinto. The exterior color of the building dates back to the second half of the 18th century perhaps created to satisfy the taste of the guests of Saint Petersburg who had the opportunity to stay there starting from 1773. Many of the decorations of the rooms, brought to life by restoration (but with small traces of medieval decorations), must be ascribed to the late ‘700s and the beginning of the next century. The last major intervention on the building, which defined the current appearance, dates back to the years after the Unification of Italy. In fact Count Domenico Giuli, owner of the Palazzo, who bought in 1864 from the Municipality of Pisa a section of the alley between Via dell'Olmo and Via del Cappello, built a new wing to the east side that made the facade symmetrical, marked by five large windows in place of four. In this way the large building was connected to Palazzetto Casarosa, also owned by Giuli, becoming one of the most significant buildings among those who enrich the wide panorama of Lungarno. Inhabited by the family of Counts Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi until the ‘70s of the 20th century, the Palazzo was then purchased in 2001 by Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa Foundation, now Pisa Foundation, which has completely restored it and made accessible to the public since 2008.

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