Barberini Palace in Rome

Museums and Galleries
Barberini Palace in RomeThe Barberini Palace in Rome (Palazzo Barberini) is a huge palace built by order of Maffeo Barberini in the first half of the 17th century. Today the palace is famous for the fact that the National Gallery of Ancient Art is located here, collections of porcelain, antique furniture, as well as paintings by great artists: Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and many others are exhibited here.

History of creation

Maffeo Barberini, even before he became Pope Urban VIII, decided to build a family residence, his family became more and more powerful, and every decent influential family had to have its own palace, and the more beautiful it is, the more honor.

Planning and drafting of the palace began in 1625, at the same time land was purchased on the Quirinal Hill, on the site of the former estate of the Sforza family.

Carlo Moderno took over the design of the palace, the final project was approved in 1627. But 2 years later, Carlo died and the well-known Giovanni Bernini took over the management of the construction. Construction lasted almost 6 years and was completed by 1633.

Piranesi engraving

Piranesi's engraving on the Palazzo BarberiniThe architecture and decoration of the palace

Palazzo Barberini in Rome is a three-story building with a main building and 2 side wings. Outside, the area is surrounded by a fence depicting bees - the symbol of the Barberini family. Near the current main entrance is the Azzurri fence, which appeared only in the 19th century. Behind the building you can see a garden, which today is only a remnant of its former picturesqueness. However, the garden is still impressive with its beauty.

Palazzo drawing

The exterior beauty of the building is fully consistent with the interior decoration.

The left wing of the palace is decorated with frescoes by Pietro da Cortona, created in the 1630s. The most ambitious work of the artist is "The Triumph of Divine Providence". In this fresco, the iconic symbols are clearly visible: the papal keys, the tiara and the Barberini bees.

Fresco Triumph of Divine Providence

Another fresco "The Triumph of Divine Wisdom" was created by the artist Andrea Sacchi. In this work, Andrea points to the education of Pope Urban VIII. Here, along with the glorification of an eminent family, there is evidence of the Pope's adherence to the heliocentric system of the world (the pope was closely acquainted with Galileo).

Fresco Triumph of Divine Wisdom

Antique statues are installed in the right wing. The hall where they stand used to be very popular. The fact is that members of the Barberini family collected classic antique statues, thereby distinguishing themselves between other Roman families. Unfortunately, few ancient creations have survived to us. For a long time this hall was used as a theater hall, accommodating up to two hundred spectators.

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One of the most unusual sights of the palazzo is the spiral staircase, which was built by the grandson of Carl Moderno - Francesco Borromini. The windows and the facade of the building from the back side belong to his hand.

Spiral staircase

An interesting decision was made on the baroque halls of the palace, the features of which were thought out by Pietro da Cortona. To give refinement, the master Jacop della Riviera, who specialized in Flemish-type fabrics, was called from Flanders. Drawings for the material were invented by da Cortona himself, achieving the most unusual decoration of the interior.

National Gallery

Now the 1-2 floors of the Barberini Palace in Rome are occupied by one of the buildings of the National Gallery of Ancient Art. Here you can see the works of artists of the 15th-17th centuries. The richness of the collection is evidenced by the names of the authors of the presented paintings: Filippo Lippi, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Poussin, Guido Reni and other, no less eminent authors. In total, over 34 paintings and other exhibits are exhibited in 1500 palace halls.

The National Gallery, located in Palazzo Barberini, is considered one of the youngest in Rome. It arose after the merger of four private art collections, the first of which was collected by members of the Barberini family.

The beginning of the collection of the second collection was laid by Cardinal Nero Corsini. He began to create it in the palace, which he acquired in 1737. After 150 years, distant relatives of the cardinal donated the collection to the state.

Later, it was supplemented by canvases from the collection of the Duke of Torlonia, and later - exhibits from the Gallery del Monte. The collections of the Barberini and Corsini galleries were united, later forming National Gallery of Ancient Art.

Rich art galleries

Barberini Library

At one time, there was a library on the upper floor of the palace building, on the shelves of which about 60000 printed publications and 10000 handwritten copies were kept. Such an extensive collection of books and manuscripts speaks of the high intelligence of its owner. Subsequently, the library was transferred to the possession of the Vatican, and the halls where it was located now houses the museum of the Institute of Numismatics of Italy.

Getting there

Address: Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13.

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Piazza Barberini is located in the eastern part of the city. You can get there via metro line A (Barberini station).

In the direction of Palazzo Barberini, buses No. 52, 53, 56, 58, 60, 61, 95, 116, 175, 492, 590 follow.

Admission on the first Sunday of every month is free for everyone. The gallery is closed on Mondays, as well as on Catholic Christmas Day and January 1st.

The palace is open from 8.30 - 19.00.