One hundred years ago today, the city of Palestrina inaugurated the monument dedicated to the greatest son of this ancient town located 23 miles east-southeast of Rome, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, the “Prince of Music” born here in 1525. It is the fine statue by the Florentine sculptor Arnaldo Zocchi (1862-1940) which stands in the central Piazza Regina Margherita, next to the Cathedral of St. Agapitus.
They wanted to erect such a monument almost thirty years earlier, on February 2, 1894, on the occasion of the third centenary of the composer’s death, but there were all kinds of difficulties. In May 1907 the Canons of St. Peter’s asked for support, recalling that “the supreme Palestrina was for many years maestro of the Cappella Giulia of the Vatican Basilica, for which he composed very famous polyphonies.”
A suggestive description of the sculpture is offered to us by the speech said in Palestrina on the day of its inauguration by the undersecretary of fine arts, Giovanni Rosadi from Lucca (1862-1925):