The Grand Papal Palaces of Rome

A number of grand palaces, or palazzos, can be found in the eternal City – most display the fabulous wealth accumulated by past Popes and still display  lavish interior decoration and art collections.

Palazzo Venezia was the first of the grand renaissance era palaces to be built in Rome.

Palazzo Venezia III
Palazzo Venezia


Marble from the Colloseum was used in its construction . It was originally embassy of the Venetian Republic  but was subsequently home to popes.

In the 1920’s Mussolini took over the palace and used it as his office and gave speeches from the balcony.

Other grand palaces from the Renaissance era can be found nearby. Popes and their families accumulated huge wealth and this can be seen by the ornate homes they left behind and the art collections within.

Palazzo Venezia
Palazzo Venezia

In these grand palazzos of the rich and well connected an entire ornately decorated room known as the Throne Room would be set aside to welcome a visiting Pope. At all other times the throne would be left facing the wall.

This can still be seen today at the Pamphilj palace , home to the family of Pope Innocent X . It has a priceless art collection from the period in a series of beautifully frescoed halls and salons. They include works by Caravaggio, Titian,Rafael and the famous portrait of Pope Innocent himself by Spanish maestro , Diego Velasquez.

Pope Innocent X by Velasquez
Pope Innocent X by Velasquez

The Palazzo del Quirinale, formerly a Papal summer residence  for more than 300 years, is now the home of the Italian President  . The keys were begrudgingly handed over to Italy’s new King on re unification in 1870.

Other notable palazzos in Rome include the Palazza Colonna . It houses the Colonna  family’s small but exquisite art collection, open to the public. The family’s great ancestor was  Marcantonio Colonna  who defeated the Turks in the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571.


Destination – Italy