Designed in the second half of the 19th century by architect Vincenzo Ghinelli for the City of Senigallia to attract visitors to its seaside climate along the Adriatic Coast of the Marche region, the Rotonda has since been uprooted and moved once, and renovated thrice.
Originally a public building, the Rotonda went private when it was purchased by a local hotelier in 1923 and turned into a spacious bathhouse along the lungomare (boardwalk). The new ownership enhanced the iconic structure, adding stronger building materials to its exterior to better withstand the elements, reinforcing the jetty, and widening the circular promenade so visitors could stroll around and admire its architectural beauty.
The decision to move the Rotonda to its current location fronting Piazza della Penna was made on January 30, 1932 by its third owners, the Azienda Autonoma Stazione di Cura e Soggiorno (Autonomous Station of Care and Living). The AASCS chose a renovation project designed by local engineer Enrico Cardelli. Once work was finally completed, it was reinaugurated at its new location on July 18, 1933.
Noted for its classical music concerts during summertime sunsets, the Rotonda drew the attention of then Italian Prince Umberto, who paid a visit on July 7, 1935.
After the war, during the 1950s and 60s, the Rotonda became an epicenter for Italian pop music as it regularly showcased the top talent from around La Penisula.
The success of rock music on water, however, came to and end, and the Rotunda fell out of favor. By the late 1980s, the signature building atop the Adriatic Sea was sadly declared unfit for use.
What was once a major tourist attraction remained closed to the public until the summer of 2006 when the City of Senigallia took back ownership of the Rotonda and commissioned the third renovation project with funding provided by the European Union.
Today, the Rotonda is back in full swing during the summer season, serving as host for classical music recitals, art exhibits, lectures and conferences, along with the occasional civil wedding ceremony for some very lucky couples.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images