British Embassy Rome
The British Embassy in Rome is on the site of the previous Embassy building in Via XX Settembre, which had been the villa of Don Marino Torlonia, Duke of Bracciano, who had reconstructed it after purchasing it in 1825. After its acquisition by the British Government in 1870, the Villa Bracciano housed both the Residence and Chancery offices.

 On the night of 31st October, 1946, the building was so seriously damaged by a terrorist bombing that it had to be first partially and then entirely demolished, leaving only the stable block, gatehouse and a stone arched entrance on the right-hand side of the present vehicle entrance. Most of the Embassy staff moved to temporary accommodation in the grounds of the Villa Wolkonsky, later acquired as the Ambassador's Residence. A number of planning studies for a new Embassy building were subsequently made, but it was not until 1960 that Sir Basil Spence was commissioned to prepare designs for a new Chancery. Construction was finally authorised and began in 1968, with staff moving into the new building, which had cost £885,000, in June 1971. The architectural constraints of designing a modern building so close to Michaelangelo's Porta Pia, dictated the choice of the Travertine marble also used in the great gateway as the main material for the new construction, as well as its height. Sir Basil Spence's design takes the form of a hollow square building, raised on pillars so that it is open to the first floor apart from the entrance block. At the front, a ceremonial entry leads across a causeway over two pools with fountains, with, in the left hand pool, Frederick E McWilliam's 'Witch of Agnesi' sculpture in bronze (1959). The title refers to the Italian mathematician and philosopher Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-99), who in 1750 became the first woman to occ...


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  • Georgi Sokolov
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    British Embassy Rome
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