1. The first point that strikes one is the sudden death shortly before the conclave of the "hot favourite": Cardinal Capranica. He was responsible for bringing the young Pius to the Council of Basle. His life and career were considered earlier in http://idlespeculations-terryprest.blogspot.com/2006/10/pius-ii-early-years.html and http://idlespeculations-terryprest.blogspot.com/2006/11/pius-going-up-greasy-pole.html
He was the preferred candidate of the powerful anti-French forces.
It is futile to consider "What if...?" but it is of course interesting to speculate how history would have differed from what actually occurred.
He had personally appealed to the Council of Basle to have his position as cardinal vindicated. He had succeeded. Perhaps his view of a Council of the Church and the desirability of holding one might have been different from that of Pius II. On 18 January 1460, Pius II issued the Bull Execrabilis, in which he condemned all appeals from the decisions of the Pope to an oecumenical council.
Capranica was one of the most earnest reformers in the Roman Church, inaugurated the restoration of primitive fervour among the Cistercians of Tuscany, and drew up for Nicholas V, in 1449, a model plan of a general religious reformation (Pastor, Gesch. d. Päpste, 4th ed. I, 394-96). If he had succeeded in becoming Pope, would he have found the circumstances ripe and would he have had the necessary energy to make the recommended reforms ?
In character he seems to have been earnest and severe. He was not as worldly as Pius. He appears to have been the type of papal candidate who was only elected by the cardinalate after the Reformation.Not for him the twists and turns of an Aeneas Sylvius. It is also very hard to imagine that Capranica would have erected a similar type of village such as Pienza, or attempted to found a dynasty as Pius did as regards the Piccolomini.
2. The main opposition for Pius came from Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville, Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina, Archbishop of Rouen, France.
Guillaume d'Estouteville (1403 - 1483) was a French ecclesiastic. He was Bishop of Angers, then of Digne, Archbishop of Rouen, Prior of Saint Martin des Champs, Abbot of Mont St Michel, of St Ouen at Rouen, and of Montebourg.
He was made a Cardinal in the consistory of December 18, 1439 by Pope Eugene IV, and later became Cardinal Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina, then Dean of the College of Cardinals and as such, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia-Velletri. He was a cardinal elector in four conclaves including the conclaves that elected Pope Nicholas V, Pius II, Pope Paul II, and Pope Sixtus IV. He was absent from Rome during the sede vacante prior to the election of Pope Calixtus III.
He was sent to France as legate by Pope Nicholas V to make peace between Charles VII and England (1451), and undertook at the instigation of the inquisitor general Jean Brehal an ex officio revision of the trial of Joan of Arc. He afterwards reformed the statutes of the university of Paris. He then went to preside over the assembly of clergy which met at Bourges to discuss the observance of the Pragmatic Sanction, finally returning to Rome, where he passed almost all the rest of his life.
He was a great builder: Rouen, Mont St Michel, Pontoise and Gaillon owing many noble buildings to his initiative.
He amassed a great fortune. He bought the land near Piazza Navona and then convinced Pope Sixtus IV to transfer there from the area below Piazza del Campidoglio the fruit and vegetable market, increasing the commercial value of his land, upon which later on several French institutions were built (S. Luigi dei Francesi and the nearby hospice and hospital). He left to his natural son (Girolamo Tuttavilla, a blunt Italianization of d'Estouteville) the fiefs of Nemi, Genzano and Frascati.
This explains how he managed to pay for the erection of S. Agostino, a very large church, one of the first and best examples of Renaissance architecture in Rome.
The façade was built with travertine stones fallen from the Colosseum. It is not the only link with Ancient Rome as the cardinal, having in mind the inscription of the Pantheon, decided to leave his name on the church, an example followed in the coming centuries by many other cardinals and popes.
Monument to Cardinal Guillaume d’Estouteville in the Church of S. Agostino, Rome
The inscription makes reference to his being bishop of Ostia (which meant that he was Dean of the College of Cardinals, the senior Cardinal), his town of origin - Rothomagen.(sis) from Rouen - and his (very lucrative) position - Camerarius (camerlengo, treasurer).
Reference is made to:
3. The conclave met in the Apostolic Palace at St. Peter's, where two halls and two chapels were cordoned off for the purpose. In the larger chapel they constructed cells where the cardinals would eat and sleep; the smaller, called the chapel of St. Nicholas, was reserved for deliberations and voting. The halls were places where all might walk about freely.
The history of the architectural development of the Apostolic palace is set out in http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15276b.htm It is sufficient to quote the following:
"It is certain that Pope Symmachus (498-514) built a residence to the right and left of St. Peter's and immediately contiguous to it. There was probably a former residence, since, from the very beginning, the popes must have found a house of accommodation necessary in the vicinity of so prominent a basilica as St. Peter's.
By the end of the thirteenth century the building activity of Eugene III, Alexander III, and Innocent III had developed the residence of Symmachus into a palatium which lay between the portico of St. Peter's and the Vatican Hill.
Nicholas III began building on the Vatican Hill a palace of extraordinary dimensions, which was completed by his immediate successors. He also secured land for the Vatican Gardens. The group of buildings then erected correspond more or less with the ancient portions of the present palace which extend around the Cortile del Maresciallo and the eastern, southern, and western sides of the Cortile del Papagallo. These buildings were scarcely finished or fitted when the popes moved to Avignon and from 1305 to 1377 no pope resided permanently in the Vatican Palace. Urban V spent a short time in Rome, and Gregory XI died there. When Urban V resolved to return to Rome, the Lateran Palace having been destroyed by fire, the ordinary papal residence was fixed at the Vatican. The apartments, roofs, gardens, and chapels of the Vatican Palace had to be entirely overhauled, so grievous had been the decay and ruin into which the buildings had fallen within sixty years (see Kirsch, "Die Rüchkehr der Päpste Urban V. u. Gregor. XI.", Paderborn, 1908). The funds devoted to the repairs of the Vatican during the residence at Avignon had been entirely inadequate.
Urban VI (1378) and his successors restored to the palace a degree of comfort as a place of residence, so that, when Martin V came from Constance to Rome (28 September, 1420), little remained to be undertaken except some rearrangement of the apartments. Nicholas V erected buildings on the east and north sides of the Cortile del Papagallo, on the spot where the Loggia of Raphael and the Appartamento Borgia and the Stanze stand to-day.
Alexander added to the Palace of Nicholas V the Torre Borgia, which bears his name.
Pius II and Paul II beautified the buildings of the south aide, and Innocent VIII effected such alterations in the old palace in the portico of St. Peter's at the foot of the hill that it was henceforth known as the Palazzo di Innocenzo VIII. Directly south, in the direction of Sant' Angelo, Nicholas V erected a mighty bastion (called the Torrione di Niccolò V), running down from the summit of the hill to Sant' Angelo.
The space mounting the hill in a northerly direction was enclosed by a wall and served as a garden (viridarium, vigna).
At a distance of about 700 metres from the palace, Innocent VIII erected a fairly large villa, which may be seen to-day, and which was remodelled by Clement XIV and Pius VI into one of the most stately portions of the museum of sculpture. Sixtus IV, who dwelt in the apartments of the Cortile del Papagallo, made important alterations in the rooms of the ground floor to accommodate there the Bibliotheca Palatina. "
The Chapel of Nicholas V (Chapel of San Lorenzo) lies on the second floor of the Palace, in the immediate vicinity of the Stanze and Loggie of Raphael. Built by Nicholas V, the chapel was adorned (1450-55) by Fra Angelico with frescoes, depicting chiefly scenes from the lives of Saints Laurence and Stephen. This wonderful series of paintings is Angelico's greatest work.
At present, it is undergoing retoration and is unfortunately closed to the public.
In the Vatican website, at http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/z-Patrons/MV_Patrons_04_02.html , it is stated:
"The current restoration of the Chapel of Nicholas V has magnificently recovered the exceptional beauty of the frescoes and gives us the opportunity to understand and appreciate the great genius of one of Christianity's finest painters, Fra Angelico. It is thanks to the generosity and vision of Mrs. Florence D'Urso, the Homeland Foundation and the New York Patrons that this important restoration has been made possible.
The chapel has been restored by world-renowned restorer, Carlo Giantomassi, his wife, Donatella Zari, and their assistants.
The restoration involved the cleaning of all the frescoes. A major challenge was the restoration of the original blue color, which had been lost due to previous restorations. Subtle movements of the walls throughout the centuries had also created cracks that were refilled in the past. These had to be controlled to insure that they were not causing damage to the frescoes.
Fire damage and vandalism are evident in some areas and remain as a testimony to the Sack of Rome in 1527 by the mercenaries of Charles V. "