"La magnificenza e l'utile," the magnificent and the useful, paired in the title of Aloisio Antinori's study of seventeenth-century urban projects in Rome, are terms that derive from the documents; Antinori explores them in the context of the relationship between papal sovereignty and public building. For scholars of Baroque architecture in Rome this is hardly news. What is intriguing is that, while examining this familiar patronage relationship, Antinori discovers moments of indecision that reveal tensions between building to celebrate the Church and her sovereign and building in the service of the Roman public.

This slender volume opens with an introduction to the urban development of Rome in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, driven by projects focused on public building——especially on judicial building and grain storage——and papal residential architecture, specifically the Palazzo del Quirinale. It also treats the opening of...

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