Aula Magna Storica, Rectorate Building – University of Siena
The Rectorate Building of the University of Siena (former convent of San Vigilio), located in Banchi di Sotto, is the heart of the glorious and centuries-old University of Siena. It became the official site of the University in 1815, when the Napoleonic era was ending and the Gran Ducato of Tuscany, with Ferdinand III Habsburg-Lorraine on the throne, was restored.
At those dates the building, already home to various religious orders, needed major renovation and the Sienese Agostino Fantastici, leading local architect of the time, it was the first protagonist. It was entrusted to its Fantastic commissioned to build the so-called Historical Hall on the first floor of the building.
At that time the building, which had been already residence of several holy Orders, needed structural renovations; the Sienese Agostino Fantastici, one of the most well-known architect of the time , began the works. Fantastici had the task to build the ‘Aula Magna Storica’ , located on the first floor.
The “Aula Magna” on the first floor of the Palace of the Rector, defined history to distinguish it from the much larger inaugurated in 1939 on the second floor, was built in 1826 in the old refectory of the monastery of San Vigilio. The administrator, charge equivalent to today’s rector, Daniello Berlinghieri, commissioned the design the Sienese architect Agostino Fantastici, who designed an impressive “residence” wooden consists of a nine elements postergale and a bench decorated with a series of studs and two carved lions.
The ‘Aula Magna Storica’ (historical Aula Magna) on the first floor of the Rectorate Building, so called in order to distinguish it from the wider one inaugurated in 1939 on the second floor, was built in 1826 where the refectory of San Vigilio monastery was located. The “Provveditore”, a position equivalent to the today’s Rector, Daniello Berlinghieri commissioned the plan of renewal to Agostino Fantastici, who designed an impressive wooden “residence” made of a postergale of nine elements and a bench decorated with a series of studs and two carved lions.
A few years later the realization, mobile, also referred to as “the examinations bench”, was modified by the same workers who had built and on this occasion the bottom, equipped with a new wooden plinth, was separated from the bench that rested on two steps painted in imitation of yellow Siena marble.
A few years later the realization, the antique furniture, also known as “the examinations bench”, was modified by the same craftsmen who worked on it and on this occasion the bottom side was equipped with a new wooden skirting board and was separated from the bench laying on two steps painted to imitate the yellow Siena marble.
Date back to 1826 also stucco that decorate the walls, shaped by luganese Pietro Rossi with motifs from Masonic symbology as a team, compass and the so-called “luminous pyramid.” Also the placement of the bench, facing the east cardinal point which gives its name to the main Italian Masonic lodge, confirms that the classroom was a sort of Masonic lodge.
The ‘stuccos’ decorating the walls also date back to 1826. They were shaped by Pietro Rossi from Lugano, with motifs from the Masonry’s Symbology as the triangle, the compass and the so-called “luminous pyramid.” Also the disposition of the bench, facing East, the cardinal point that gives its name to the main Italian Masonic Lodge, confirms that the historical Lecture room was thought as a kind of ‘Masonic Lodge’.
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