P(a)laces for foreign affairs: Residential management and social maintenance during the Portuguese diplomatic missions in Rome during the reign of King D. João III

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


With the purpose of dealing over the external state affairs, from the establishment of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition to the cardinal nominations for the infantes, the diplomatic missions sent by King D. João III to the Papal Court entailed the continuous and prolonged sojourn of the Portuguese diplomatic delegations in the city of Rome. It had been so in the early sixteenth century and so it would continue to be in the future.
The permanent presence of ambassadors during diplomatic commissions required the occupation of successive residences to accommodate them and their household. Considering the role of sociability in diplomatic strategy policy, the palatial residences became fundamental sites to establish the first institutional contacts. These residences served for the organization of official audiences in addition to informal receptions to foreign ministers and Roman cardinals, namely before papal audiences.
Abiding to reciprocity rules, the Portuguese ambassadors accepted the invitations to visit and lodge on the residences occupied by foreign emissaries and local residents inside and outside Rome. On several occasions, detailed accounts were written with the intention of informing the Portuguese King and Court about those events.
The historical sources give us an understanding of the internal organization and ornamental composition of those buildings, with its surrounding fountains and gardens. In addition, they also describe receptions promoted in the same residences, providing a better comprehension of the lifestyle that would ultimately influence the ambassadors’ experience in Rome.
Based on the correspondence exchanged between the diplomatic agents posted in Rome and the royal chancellery in Portugal, we intend to contextualize the public receptions and official audiences organized on the palatial residences occupied and visited by the Portuguese diplomats from 1521 around 1550. We will also privilege an analysis of the buildings composition and ornamental characterization according to the diplomatic functions described by the emissary agents, as such as the procedures for the hiring of architects and engineers destined to assume the constructive campaigns of the Portuguese Crown.

Period3 Nov 2022
Event titleResearch in Medieval Studies. An International Meeting Series. : State-Making and Diplomacy in Europe. 1050-1550
Event typeConference
Conference numberII
LocationLisboa, PortugalShow on map