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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Details

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

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nick U (2 months ago)
Amazing collection of paintings in a very well maintained palace. But what really sets this small museum apart is the enthusiasm and knowledge of the museum guides who are on-hand throughout (at least one person in each room). They are more than happy to answer all of our questions (be sure to ask about the random cannonball embedded in one of the stairways!). We were really impressed by their passion and the overall experience.
Clara Neander (2 months ago)
What a beautiful museum! Very very big but absolutely gorgeous. Would have been nice so have taken the guided tour instead of just walking by yourself but still very much enjoyable. If you don’t really want to the main tour is more worth it only instead of the full tour including the apartment.
Emanuele Tommasino (2 months ago)
My favourite baroque palace in Rome. The gallery is amazing. You may experience the Stendhal's syndrome. The garden are well kept. Must to see in Rome.
Fernando Schiantarelli (3 months ago)
What a beautiful place. Galleria Colonna in Rome is a hidden jewel that can't be missed. Just a word on Massimo, the tour guy. He was knowledgeable and friendly. And most importantly, he left you space and time to yourself to appreciate the magnificent art and decoration inside. He didn't pretend to be the star of the show as happens with most tour guides.
Emiliano (2 years ago)
S T R E P I T O S O!
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