This research will focus on the Chigi family archives and the relationships that can be established between the archival documents, the music collection, and their patronage of the arts. Along with the archival material preserved in the Vatican library, the Chigi collection is one of the unique cases, where the music manuscripts have been preserved more or less in their original form. The three cardinal-nephews of pope Alexander VII, cardinals Flavio (1631-1693) and Sigismondo (1649-1678), and prince Agostino (1634-1705) were avid music sponsors and commissioned several operas, along with chamber music, sacred music, dance and other entertainments. Their most significant operatic ventures were the two opera seasons given by the Accademia dei Sfaccendati at the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia in 1672 and 1673. Moreover, an important network of female patronage was active in the circle of Maria Virginia Borghese (1642-1718), niece of pope Paul V and wife of Agostino and has been completely ignored until now. The patronage of their descendants in the first half of the eighteenth century has also been completely overlooked.
The archival research will consist of a systematic study of the libri mastri, giornali, giustificazioni, ruoli dei salari along with a partial study of the correspondence. In a first stage, the composers, singers and musicians, dancers, music masters, impresarios, librettists, poets and all the other agents active in the Chigi circle will be identified. The performances of music, dance, and spectacle linked to the family will be documented. In a second stage, links will be established between the archival material, the preserved scores, librettos and their dedicatees and the artists at the service of the Chigi. This project aims at giving a broader and picture of the Chigi patronage, which has been only partially studied until now. It also will focus on the relationships with the other Roman families, especially the Colonna, with whom they sponsored many productions in collective patronage.