Palazzo Colonna

Rome, Italy

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna's alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle's apartments, but once housing Martin V's library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Denise Pearson (2 years ago)
Breathe taking!not to be missed.
Marija Mihailovic (3 years ago)
Fantastic Galleria, one of the best we visit in Rome
megan frost (3 years ago)
It was a privilege to be able to see inside this important Palazzo with its breath taking murals, painted Baroque ceilings and inlaid marble floors and also a series of interesting rooms with a stupendous collection of beautifully curated art works. It was a pleasure to be able to sit on one of the many padded benches and study the list of art works and decide which ones to consider in greater detail. The staff are highly trained and consummate professionals who are obviously proud of and dedicated to their work.
Robin Bruce (3 years ago)
A must - especially for fans of Roman Holiday! Open Saturday mornings only- don’t be put off by the E30 entrance fee - it includes the garden, which has a spectacular view over Rome.
yukari 4288 (3 years ago)
Wonderful Palace with a charming history, the garden is also a pleasure to see and some artistics masterpieces are available inside. The visit was not long but it was amazing: a beautiful guided tour in a little group with a skilled and sympathetic guide. It's quite a magic place that behold between its walls a part of the history of the richest and most powerful family of Papal Rome.
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