In the heart of the gardens of Piazza Vittorio is a Magic Door, built in the second half of the 17th century, an ancient testimony of a Rome of myths and mysteries. However, the enigmatic door does not lead anywhere and is what remains of the luxurious Villa Palombara, the residence of the Marquis Massimiliano Savelli Palombara.
The aristocrat was a brilliant, refined well-read man and alchemy and esotericism lover, a passion he shared with Christina of Sweden. He was her devoted friend and very loyal to the court during the Roman stay of the former queen.
According to the Legend, on a stormy night in 1680, a traveller housed in the villa, probably the alchemist doctor Francesco Borri, went to the garden in search of a herb able of producing gold. The following morning, the man had mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind him traces of pure gold and obscure manuscripts with numerous symbols and alchemical formulas. Sure that the mysterious writing contained the secret of the philosopher's stone, the Marquis had the "magic recipe" engraved on the "Alchemical Door", also known as the "Door of Heaven" and "Hermetic Door": planetary symbols, each associated with a metal, pyramids, circles, inscriptions in Latin and Hebrew and a six-pointed star, King Solomon's seal.
Today, the fascinating monument is set into a wall behind the imposing nymphaeum "Trofei di Mario", continuously guarded by two grim and grotesque statues of the Egyptian god Bes, found in the late 19th-century Quirinale excavations, waiting for someone to decode what, until now, has proved to be an impenetrable enigma.
Open to organized groups by reservation only.
Max 25 visitors.
Open to single visitors without guided tour on Wednesday 8 December.
Reservation required at 060608
Disabled people Access - services available:
partially accessible entrance - no lift
partially accessible toilet - only in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II
To find out about all accessibility services, visit the Rome accessible section.