A Place for Gathering: The Meeting Places of the Accademia degli Alterati
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
In many ways, the Accademia degli Alterati resembled other private academies active in the Tuscan capital during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Like its counterparts, the Accademia grew out of small, informal gatherings of friends who adopted metaphors to represent their collective activities and aspirations. It blossomed into a self-governing, hierarchical body complete with regulated meetings, rituals and bureaucratic procedures.
Unlike other erudite societies, however, the Alterati’s Diario (BML, Ashburnham 558) reveals somewhat frequent venue changes during its nearly sixty years of activity. It was initially headquartered at the Palazzo del Nero from 1568 to 1575; from 1575 to 1599 its members met at private residences; and from 1599 on they used a room at Giambattista Strozzi’s Palazzo Strozzi del Poeta.
The Alterati’s frequent moves suggest a shifting set of requirements – and even levels of satisfaction – with regard to decoration and location. The present paper aims to explore what expectations its members might have held for their successive meeting places, and how these criteria changed over the years.