The history of this majestic historical residence, located a few steps from Piazza Venezia, began in the 14th century at the behest of the Colonna family. Their dynasty dates back to the 12th century, and the family has been living in the same palace for eight centuries.
It took five centuries to complete the construction, and the final result was a surprising superimposition of architectural styles, each representing its age.
From 1300 to 1500, Palazzo Colonna looked like an actual fortress. Oddone Colonna, who on 11 November 1417 was elected pope with the name of Martin V, assigned it to the Papal See and lived there from 1420 to 1431, the year he died. It was in its immense halls, and in just ten years, that Martino conceived and carried out the great plan of cultural, urban, and administrative revival Rome needed, after the troubled period of the Avignon captivity and the uncertainty caused by the Western Schism.
In 1527, Emperor Charles V's army invaded the city, devastating and sacking most of the patrician palaces of the precious artworks they contained and then setting the buildings on fire. Palazzo Colonna was among the few buildings that did not suffer the same fate, given the good relations of the family with the Emperor; indeed, it was a safe haven for over three thousand Romans.
During the 1600s, the Palace was totally remodeled and transformed: from an austere fortress, Palazzo Colonna became a splendid Baroque palace, thanks to the works carried out by three generations of the family. The major proponents of the change were Filippo I, Cardinal Girolamo I, and Lorenzo Onofrio. They approached the best and most famous architects and artists on the market, including Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Antonio del Grande, Carlo Fontana, and Paolo Schor.
The construction of the extraordinary Colonna Gallery, an authentic jewel of the Roman Baroque, dates back to the same period. Its facade extends for over 70 meters on Via IV novembre. In addition to the prestigious apartments of the Palazzo, among which the still intact one of Princess Isabelle stands out, the Gallery houses the priceless art collections that the Colonna family has collected and handed down over the centuries. Among the most important works are the masterpieces of Italian and foreign artists who worked between the 15th and 17th centuries, such as Pinturicchio, Cosmè Tura, Carracci, Guido Reni, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Bronzino, Guercino, Veronese, and Vanvitelli.
The current building is included in a large block that extends from Piazza Santi Apostoli to Via della Pilotta. It connects to the garden of Villa Colonna through four arches-overpasses. From the Gallery, you can admire the beautiful private garden of the Palace that stands on the ruins of the Temple of Serapis.
The Colonna Gallery
The Doria-Pamphilj Gallery
The Trajan's Markets - The Museum of the Imperial Fora
For visiting schedules and procedures please consult the official website
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