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Bartoli House

Trieste, Italy
1 of 7

Casa Bartoli is the best example of the Vienna Secession movement in Trieste and resembles the Artaria Palace in Vienna. The building is located on the south side of one of the main city squares, and the back overlooks the former Jewish ghetto.The height of the building matches that of the newly built houses onthe other side of the Piazza rather than that of adjacent buildings, which are two storeys lower. Its unusual height, ornamentation and balconies caused a stir among Fabiani’s contemporaries. It is located almost at the beginning of Corso Italia in Trieste. It is one of the best known and most famous Art Nouveau buildings in the city. The Art Nouveau style is still recognized in the touch of the cascading decorations of leaves while rationality is expressed in the multifunctional organization of the building.


Countess Muratti Bartoli comissioned Max Fabiani, an important figure among architects participating in the movement of Wien Secession, to design this building. Bartoli house was designed for both residential and commercial use. At the time, the ground floor housed a fabric store.

Wagner's Influence

The large windows and marble finish are reminiscent of the legacy of Otto Wagner. The iron and glass terrace on the second floor in meant to suggest the presence of the kosher restaurant. The application of iron to the facade is very unusual for the city of Trieste in which buildings are typically build with masonry.

The residential floors, served by one of the first electric elevators in Trieste, was originally decorated with horizontal bands. Max Fabiani, referencing the Biedermeier style of the surrounding houses, designed a facade in which the vertical structural members are emphasized by a diamond pattern that gives way to a typical Vieniese stayle floral pattern. Bartoli home is a crossroads in the history of Trieste. It is a building that draws a line between eclectic and rationalist architecture.


As in the Vienna model that inspired it, Fabiani reserved the groundfloor, mezzanine and first floor for public functions. For the first floor restaurant, he designed a panoramic veranda, with full-height glazing along the entire width of the building. On the four storeys above, balconies with view to the see cantilever from the main facade. The criss-cross pattern in the render, together with white floral decorations on a green background lend the facade a fabric-like texture. The four ornamental acanthus leaves garlands seem to grow out of the coffered eaves, cascading from the roof. The large shop windows are inserted into a plinth clad with unscrewed marble slabs.

The building is made from reinforced concrete with a brick wall cladding - a technology which was not yet established at the time. The open floor plan between load-bearing walls allowed functional circulation and spatial partitioning in this rather narrow building. Fabiani opted for a modern flat roof, while the rounded balconies and curved glass of the veranda give the building a Baroque character.

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bostjan, November 19th, 2023
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