The peculiarity of Palazzo Manassei lies in a tradition that has more than anything a hint of legend: it is said to have been the result of the combination of several pre-existing ancient buildings which had belonged to the Tacito family, the historian Cornelio and his descendents Appio Claudio and and Annio Floriano, who would later both become Roman emperors. A "rumour" deriving from the fact that while carrying out works in that part of the city, vestiges of the Roman epoch of particular value came to light: several Tiber stones, stones used for decoration and embellishment, great arches, and added to all this, a headless statue, which represented a robed man who- it was vaticinated- might have been Cornelio Tacito.
These houses, however, were purchased by one of the most ancient
noble families in Terni, and in the years subsequent to 1420, on the initiative of Cipriano Manassei, the building was erected. The construction work lasted for at least a decade and was finished by Stefano Manassei, at that time mayor of Florence.
The Manassei family, originally from France, came to Italy before the year one thousand. They counted among their ancestors mayors of Florence, Orvieto, Todi: that Barnaba Manassei founder of Monti di Pieta'; captains of the people (Florence again) until under Pope Alessandro Vll, on becoming members of the Roman nobility, the Manasseis obtained feudal rights and vassalage over Collestatte and Torre Orsina. The first feudal lord was Antonio Manassei, who had married Anna Maria Mazzancolli from Terni, who belonged to a rich and noble family. The lords of Collestatte and Torre Orsina did not stay confined in the two small centres of the Terni Valnerina ( Nera Valley) and almost immediately built their house in Terni, (in 1500).
From the combination of the pre-existing buildings, an irregular shaped facade was born which, however, was made more homogeneous in the 17th century when the building underwent radical restructuring. At the same time the interior was renovated and various embellishments were added.
The Manassei family sold the building to a private company which used it as an "asset" by renting it out (it was a school for several decades as well as the city art museum and "Briccialdi" music school) only to repossess the structure in recent years and, after a further restoration, use it as a private home.