The staircase – historic details
Having crossed the threshold of Hotel Teatro Pace, one finds oneself in a small hall from which rises a magnificent spiral stone staircase, each step is low and wide and is accompanied by a columned balustrade dating from the end of the 1500s, which rises in wide circles and connects the ground floor with the three upper floors.
The staircase is the work of the architect Onorio Longhi (Viggiù 1568 – Rome 1619), father of Martino Longhi the Younger and son of Martino Longhi, the Elder. He belonged to a dynasty of architects born in Viggiù in Lombardy. Onorio Longhi began as his father’s assistant, taking over his commissions at the time of his death (1591). Contemporary sources describe him as an eccentric and Bohemian character, a personal friend of Caravaggio and together they were involved in the famous murder trial in 1606, when he was exiled from Rome. He returned to Lombardy where he carried out numerous unrealised projects for the Duomo in Milan and other churches until, in 1611, a papal amnesty gave him permission to return to Rome. Here he designed the first plan for the “national” Milanese church, Saints Ambrogio and Carlo al Corso, which was carried out by his son and Pietro da Cortona, characterised by an unusual ambulatory behind the apse, exactly the same as the Duomo in Milan. Other works of his include the church of Santa Maria Liberatrice in the Roman Forum (destroyed by excavations which brought to light Santa Maria Antiqua) and the Santoro Chapel in Laterano.
The hotel does not have a lift ... and the reason is obvious: how would it be possible to sacrifice such an important work and architectural feature?