The Loggia of the Papal Blessing (first carriage)

La loggia delle Benedizioni "Balconata"
MR 459

The first carriage, the so-called balconata, was an open carriage used for the papal blessing: it takes the form of a loggia with a balustrade and twisted gilded colonnettes on either side decorated with a frieze and a cornice of oak and laurel leaves surmounted by carved gilded floral scroll work with the papal coat of arms in the centre. The interior is lined with velvet and gilt ornaments and the ceiling features a trompe l’oeil painted awning scattered with stars.

The hall

Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti, who became pope on 16 June 1846 taking the name Pius IX, was fully aware of the key role that railways would play in the economic, social and political development of European nations in the immediate future. In 1846, soon after his election, he gave orders for the construction of a series of railways linking Rome to the leading cities of the Papal States.