Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal Palace)

"Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal Palace)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Saturday 30th April 2011

Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal Palace)

Before the palace was built here this site was occupied by a villa created by Ippolito II d'Este, who was a great specialist in villas and had a famous Villa d'Este in Tivoli built. His Roman villa was located on the territory which belonged to the Carafa and rented to him. In 1583-1585 Gregory XIII had the works over the new palace begun by O.Mascherino and M.Longhi. The construction was continued by D.Fontana, Clement VIII ordered arrangement of a garden, and Paul V completed the palace as an official residence of popes.

Palazzo del Quirinale full view
The architect who participated in further adaptation and decoration of Palazzo del Quirinale were F.Ponzio (portico in the garden, honorary staircase), C.Maderno (the main door with the statue of St Peter and St Paul by S.Maderno and G.Berthelot), G.L.Bernini (semi-tower of guard, loggia of blessing). It housed thirty popes, four kings and eleven presidents of the Italian Republic.

Alexander VII had the part of the palace named "manica lunga" (long sleeve) built (pictured below). It is 360m long laying along Via Pia (Via del Quirinale). Originally it was a simple palace adjoining Palazzo del Quirinale which would serve for Swiss Guard, but with the time the necessity to place all the services and workers of the pontifical State caused to make it longer. Its construction was begun in 1656 and finished in 1732 with participation of G.L.Bernini and F.Fuga.
Palazzo del Quirinale long sleeve
As well as the exterior, the interior has not particular architectural value. In the garden bordered by portico a tower with mosaics and a clock was erected. The famous winding staircase by O.Mascherino is dominated by the Christ in glory by M.da Forli', a fragment of the apse fresco from Chiesa dei SS.Apostoli, destroyed in the 17th century.

At the top of the stairs is the Sala dei Corazzieri, decorated in 1616-1617, with a frieze by Tassi, G.Lanfranco and C.Saraceni. This and the adjoining Cappella Paolina, the chapel of the same size as the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, with fine stucco decoration, are by C.Maderno. The Cappella dell'Annunciata was decorated between 1609-1612 under the direction of G.Reni, by G.Lanfranco, Antonio Carracci and F.Albani. The Sala del Balcone contains two paintings by P.da Cortona. In the Salottino di San Giovanni there is a copy, attributed to G.Romano, of the young St John Baptist by Raphael and his workshop in the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

Gallery of Alexander VII has frescoes by P.da Cortona, G.F.Grimaldi, L.Baldi, C.Ferri, G.Dughet and C.Maratta executed in 1656-57. The decoration of the palace suffered a lot during the Napoleonic period, where it was conceived to create an environment adapted for the emperor's sojourns: the fresco by Tassi and O.Gentileschi on the vault of Sala del Concistoro was destroyed, when it was transformed in Sala delle Feste and re-frescoed with a banal "Triumph of Italy".

From 1592 the Quirinal was the summer residence of the popes, in 1621 it became their official residence, in 1808-1814 while the pope was in exile in Fontainebleau, it was turned into French imperial residence in Rome, in 1870-1947 - residence of the Kings of Italy, and since 1947 it has been the official residence of the President of the Republic.

The Cappella Paolina was used for four conclaves: in 1823 with election of Leo XIII, in 1829 of Pius VIII, 1830-1831 of Gregory XVI, and in 1846 of Pius IX.

The Royal family of Italian Kings and Queens (Umberto I and Margherita) adapted the palace for not usual initiatives held in Salone delle Feste: great balls every Wednesday, reunions of nobility and men of letters every Thursday.
Palazzo del Quirinale another view
Queen Elena used Sala dei Corazzieri for playing tennis and skating. In 1915 the entertainment halls were transformed in a military hospital. The Savoy family enriched the Quirlinal with the numerous 17th-18th century tapestries and valuable Piedmontese furniture. The name of the palace derives from its position on the top of the Quirinal Hill, one of the legendary seven hills of Rome.
Palazzo del Quirinale top view
Today the Quirinal Palace (known in Italian as the Palazzo del Quirinale or simply Quirinale) is the current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of the seven hills of Rome, and is one of the most important palaces of Rome, for its historical, political and artistic features. The austere two-storey facade by Domenico Fontana (1589) is enriched by the portal by Maderno (1615) with the tympanum flanked by statues of the apostles Peter and Paul, by Stefano Maderno and Berthélot respectively. Above it is the Loggia delle Benedizioni designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1638). On the left is the "torrino" (1624) by Bernini. In the magnificent gardens are the Fontana dell'Organo (1596) and the Coffee House by Fuga (1741) with interesting paintings by Pannini. The internal decoration of the palace is a sum of the Roman art of the 17th and 18th centuries here represented at the highest levels with works by Guido Reni, Pietro da Cortona, Giovanni Lanfranco, Agostino Tassi, Antonio Caracci and others.

Opening times
Open to the public every Sunday from 8.30 am to 12.00 pm, with the exception of the following Sundays of 2011: January 2, January 16, April 24, May 1, May 29, Dcember 18, December 25 and from June 26 to September 18.
Changing of the Guard of Honour
from October to June 2: weekdays: 3.15 pm, Sundays and Holidays: 4.00 pm
from June 3 to the end of September: daily: 6.00 pm

The Gardens of the Quirinale can be visited for free only on June 2 , Day of the Republic, from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal Palace)
Piazza del Quirinale
Entrances: Via Piacenza, Via del Quirinale, Via Genova.
00187, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Trevi (Quirinale-Tritone-Barberini) (Roma centro)
Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinal Palace) is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "92"
Bus: 57, 64, 65, 70, 71, 75, 170.
Telephone: 0039 06 46991 Centralino
Fax: 0039 06 46993125
Web site:

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