French administration

The pope was not successful in his resistance to Napoleon, and on 17 May 1809, the Papal States were declared annexed to the French Empire. They were subject to French legislation and administrative control. Rome became the 'Imperial Free City', the second capital of the Empire after Paris. It had a special attraction for Napoleon, who even named his firstborn son the King of Rome. At the same time, a taste for antique Roman culture became fashionable in Paris - in social life, the theatre and architecture. Consequently, the French took a special interest in making the city presentable and prepared programmes for her embellishment and the improvement of public facilities. At the same time the suppression of convents and closing of churches by an edict of June 1810 resulted in further demolition, even though the edict was partly reversed later.23

The first decrees to deal with ancient monuments date from 1809; the decree of 9 July 1810 provided 360 000 francs for embellishments and also established the Commission des monuments et b√Ętiments civils as the local direction for the intended works. The Commission was chaired by the Prefect of Rome, Baron Camille de Tournon, and its members consisted of the mayor and representatives of old Roman families. The following year, the budget was augmented to one million and the Commission was replaced by the Commission des embellisements de la ville de Rome which reported to the Minister of the Interior, Montalivet, in Paris. In 1811, it was decided to establish a special programme for the embell ishment of Rome. The programme included improvement of the navigability of the Tiber, as well as the building of markets, bridges, and public promenades, enlargement of squares, excavations and restorations. Proposals to build covered markets in the historic centre, and enlarge urban squares around the Pantheon, the Forum of Trajan, and the Fountain of Trevi, would have caused much destruction, but were not realized. The proposal to open up the view from the Castel Sant'Angelo to St Peter's, instead, was carried out more than a century later.

Two public promenades were planned, one on the hill of the Pincio - the 'Garden of the Great Caesar' - the other in the area of the Forums called the 'Garden of the Capitol'. Valadier, who since 1793 had been preparing projects for the Piazza del Popolo below the Pincio, was put in charge of the Garden of the Great Caesar, while Camporesi was made responsible for the Garden of the Capitol. Jointly, they prepared plans for other projects such as the Pantheon and the Forum of Trajan, and several proposals were sent to Paris for approval. Montalivet was, however, not completely satisfied either with the projects or with the work already executed in some cases. The French representatives in Rome also accused the Romans of inefficiency and poor-quality work.

As a result of Canova's visit to the emperor, in 1810 special funds were allocated directly to the Accademia di San Luca, of which he was president from 1811 to his death, for the maintenance and repair of ancient monuments in Rome. The budget remained relatively modest, and work was thus limited to the minimum, consisting primarily of maintenance. In August 1811, Valadier and Camporesi proposed a system of inspection and the formation of a register of those ancient monuments that were under the care of the Accademia. The first list included about a hundred sites in Rome, and several outside in Tivoli, Palestrina, Frascati, Ostia and Via Appia. This was regarded as the first phase of an inventory to cover the entire papal territory. A detailed report with descriptions of the state of the monuments and estimates of necessary repairs, classified according to urgency, was to form the basis of a balanced programme within the limits of the budget. Weekly reports were

Figure 4.4 The plan of the Garden of the Capitol designed by L-M. Berthault in 1812 for the archaeological area of the Roman Forum and surrounding hills. Ancient monuments were restored as focal points of the scheme. (Museo di Roma)

required on any conservation works - as was Colosseum. Guards were also considered already the practice in the case of the indispensable, at least for major sites.

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