CACIALLI, Giuseppe
(b. 1770, Firenze, d. 1828, Firenze)

Biography

Italian architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence together with Pasquale Poccianti (1774-1858) and Luigi de Cambray Digny (1778-1843); all three were pupils of the leading figure in Tuscan Neo-classicism, Gaspero Maria Paoletti (1727-1813). At barely 15 years of age Cacialli won the second prize for architecture with a measured drawing of the chapel of Sant'Andrea Corsini in the Florentine church of Santa Maria del Carmine. During the period of French rule in Tuscany, Cacialli rose to a position of prominence in Tuscan architectural affairs. After the restoration in 1814 of the House of Lorraine in Tuscany, he was appointed architect to the Scrittoio delle Reali Fabbriche, a position he held until he retired in January 1827.

Cacialli's architectural work was mainly connected with the administration of important restoration and rebuilding projects commissioned first by Elisa Bonaparte and then by Grand Duke Ferdinand III (reg 1814-24), notably at the Villa di Poggio Imperiale and the Palazzo Pitti, which are documented by two volumes of engravings published by Cacialli in 1823. In 1807 he began working at the Villa di Poggio Imperiale, on the southern outskirts of Florence, which was designed by Giulio Parigi in 1622 and remodelled between 1766 and c. 1782 by Paoletti.

At the Palazzo Pitti, among other works he rearranged the pavilion of La Meridiana (1808-10), designed the Sala dell'Iliade (1815) and the Grand Duchess's bathroom (1819), rearranged the Palatine apartments (1823) and redecorated the Sala d'Ercole (1828). He also renovated parts of the Boboli Gardens, especially the botanical garden, including the new Portone d'Annalena and adjacent Palazzina (1821). Between 1808 and 1826 Cacialli also directed important restoration projects at several Medici villas, including Castello, where he remodelled the Grand Duchess's apartments and completed works in the garden; Petraia; Pratolino, where he constructed water conduits and restored Giambologna's Colossus of the Appenines; and, in particular, the Villa di Poggio a Caiano, where he replanned the park and designed an iron bridge over the River Ombrone.

In addition to his royal commissions, Cacialli directed numerous other works in Florence, including the rebuilding of the Teatro degli Intrepidi or Teatro Nuovo (1809-10) and work on the Uffizi Galleries (1811-12); in his capacity as architect to Florence Cathedral (1820-23) he planned the restoration of the Baptistery roof (1821) and created an elegant entrance to the cloister and adjoining structures of the monumental complex of San Pancrazio.

Cacialli's publications document the enormous range of his projects and teaching activity; they also reveal the extent to which his brand of Tuscan Neo-classicism was indebted to architects of the French Enlightenment, such as Etienne-Louis Boullée, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand (1760-1834).