Some of Rome’s Overlooked Palazzi
From Italy Magazine:
“Rome’s countless attractions draw millions of tourists each year, but hiding in plain view are a number of sites, the glorious palazzi still owned by the princely families who once ruled the city, that might not make it onto the usual visitor’s itinerary. Yet for anyone wanting to fully experience the incomparable richness of the Eternal City, these palaces and villas are must stops.
Here are three worth touring…
> Palazzo Colonna.
Lavishly illustrating the splendor of Roman Baroque style, the Palazzo Colonna, one of Europe’s most spectacular private residences, spans a city block (its facades front the Piazza SS Apostoli and the Via della Pilotta). Home to Prince Prospero Colonna, who with his children, represent the 33rd and 34th generations of a family that have been among Rome’s most influential for nearly a thousand years, the palazzo opens two sections–the Galleria Colonna and Princess Isabelle Apartments–to the public one day a week. The Galleria, which can claim Bernini as one of its architects, contains the Great Hall, a marvel of celebratory exuberance with such lavish frescoes, gleaming marbles and gilded moldings, you don’t know where to look first.
IF YOU GO:
Hours: Open Saturdays from 9 AM to 1:15 PM. Entrance: Via della Pilotta 17. All other days, including Saturday afternoons are by private appointment.
Tel #: 39 06 6784350.
> Palazzo Doria Pamphilij.
Like the Colonnas, the Doria Pamphilij are among a small group of Roman nobles who retain enormous palaces and art collections. This palazzo, because of its size (it has more rooms than Buckingham Palace, about 1000 to Buck House’s 775) and the vastness of its holdings, provides an exceptionally immersive experience–you time-transport back to the 18th century when you enter the building on Via del Corso.Here you’ll find a collection that includes a staggering amount of Old Masters–works by Raffaelo, Bronzino, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Velazquez’s famous portrait of the family’s Pope Innocent X. The Gallery of Mirrors, in haute rococco style by Gabriele Valvassori, holds its own against the Galerie des Glaces in Versailles. In the private apartments, you can explore nine ornate rooms, many themed by color (like the White House only with lots more ormolu), a throne room (de rigueur if there was a Pope in the family) and a ballroom whose design is of more recent vintage (19th century).
IF YOU GO:
Hours: Open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM, certain holidays excluded.
A: Via del Corso, 305.
Tel#: +39 06 6797323
> Villa Albani Torlonia.
Built in 1758 at the request of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, a noted antiquarian, the villa became a magnet for English aristocrats Grand Touring their way through the continent. Its repository of priceless ancient Roman artifacts is believed to be the largest collection after the Vatican’s.The style of the villa, designed to serve more as a museum than private dwelling, mixes Baroque and neo-classical styles. Former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni led an initiative to buy the property for the city when in office (Silvio Berulsconi was rumored to be interested as well), but the current owner, Prince Torlonia, didn’t budge.
IF YOU GO:
Requests for a visit must be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel.: 39 06 6861044
Fax: 39 06 68199934.
A: The villa is located at Via Salaria 92.