When you arrive in Ariccia, you’re immediatly enraptured by the scenography of the square and, probably, you don’t notice the two very normal windows that open into a small terrace just above the chemist. But if you look up, you can see the banner on the railing of the balcony, with the image of Goethe. That is the Locanda Martorelli.
The Locanda Martorelli is a historic building closely linked to the Grand Tour d’Italie. It is located in Piazza di Coorte in Ariccia.
The story begin in 1917 when Antonio Martorelli buy the building and turns it into an inn in 1920. Ever since the Inn osted many famous artists who passed for Ariccia in the context of the Grand Tour.
Started as a simple inn, slowly became a meeting poit for musicians, writers, painters who shared the experience of the Grand Tour, changing in a real academy of painting.
Among the celebrity who have stayed at the famous Inn we can remember G.M. Guglielmo Turner, Antonio Richter, G. Fedrico Overbeck, Nino Costa, Antonio Ligeti, G. Cristiano Andersen, H. Jorgen Hammer, Massimo D’Azeglio, Goethe, Orazio Vernet, Enrico Ibsen, Longfellow, Byron, and Gogol who during his stay wrote a chapter of the novel “Dead Souls”.
This great artists, who spent periods of study and resort in the Locanda, spread through their poetry and painting, the image of the Castelli Romani in the whole Europe.
The special friendship that was created between Mr Martorelli and the Polish painter Taddeo Kuntze, ispired the artist who wanted to honor his friend by decorating the inn. So, he literally covered with paintings throughout the central all of the locanda with a series of tempera wall created between 1770 and 1771 telling the whole history and mythology of the ancient Latin city of Aricia that once included also the modern towns of Genzano and Nemi.
In 1988 the Locanda Martorelli was purchased by the town of Ariccia, very carefully restored and is now used to host art exibitions.