Three Palace Museums in Rome

Doria Pamphilj grand hall
Doria Pamphilj Gallery of Mirrors.

Because this wasn’t our first time in Rome, we had the opportunity to visit some of the smaller museums first-time visitors usually skip in favor of the big sightseeing hotspots of the Forum, Colosseum, and Vatican Museums. These three museums all had a common thread; they were all in former palaces (palazzos) belonging to a wealthy or noble family.

The first was the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj near Piazza Navona. The palazzo houses the private collection of a noble family. It was started in 1651 by Pope Innocent X Pamphilj. Inside there is artwork by such masters as Caravaggio, Velázquez, Brueghel el Viejo, Bernini, and Rafael. The Gallery of Mirrors (top photo) was brought from Venice and was designed around 1730.

Doria Pamphij painting gallery
Doria Pamphilj painting gallery
Doria Pamphij family chapel
Doria Pamphilj family chapel
Doria Pamphij grand hall
Doria Pamphilj grand hall- working on the ceiling.
Doria Pamphij painting gallery
Doria Pamphilj painting gallery

Nearby is the famous Cat Street (via della Gatta). Make sure you check out the ancient marble cat on top of the corner of the building!

Via Della Gatta
Via Della Gatta

Next up was Galleria Corsini, located across the river just north of Trastevere. The building was constructed in 1511 by Cardinal Raffaele Riario and later became when it became the residence of Queen Christina of Sweden in the mid-1600’s. In 1736 it became the home of the wealthy Florentine Corsini family after  Lorenzo Corsini became Pope Clement XII. Finally, in 1883, the property and the entire collection were donated to the Italian State.

Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini

The gardens behind the palazzo are the Botanical Gardens of Rome. We did not have time to visit them.

Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini Gardens
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini
Detail of painting above.
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini- Right, ” Guido Reni (Bologna 1575 – 1642), Salome holding the head of John the Baptist”
Palazzo Corsini painting of the Pantheon
Palazzo Corsini painting of the Pantheon

Directly across the street from the Galleria Corsini is the Villa Farnesina. The villa was built in the early 1500’s and eventually owned by the Farnese family. In the 1920’s it was taken over by the Italian state and turned into a museum.

Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina- the Loggia of Galatea.

Below, the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche.

Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina ceiling
Villa Farnesina ceiling

Below, the hall of perspectives. Those pillars are all painted trompe l’oeil.

Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina

Below, the bedchamber, depicting the wedding of Alexander the Great and his bride Roxana.

Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina

Below, the “room of the freeze”, which was used as a waiting room for guests. Around the top of the room are frescoes of the Twelve Labors of Hercules as well as other myths. The “fabric” you see on the walls is actually painted on.

Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina

In all, we enjoyed checking out these jewels. None were crowded, even in the high summer season. If I had to recommend just one, I’d probably say go see the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj which felt the most like a place that had been lived in.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Your snaps are amazing. Inspired! Make me feel like I am there with you in Rome, enjoying this rich history. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

    1. Thank you!

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