Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini (Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden)

"Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini (Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 1st May 2011

Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini (Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden)

This palace stands in the center of the zone, which previously was occupied by the Baths of Constantine, and where until the 17th century the ancient ruins could be seen. Scipione Borghese wanted to build a palace-villa beside a new papal residence in Palazzo Quirinale, and ordered to clean the area from any construction located on it. The palace and a vast garden on the slope of the hill were created under the direction of G.Vasanzio and C.Maderno in 1611-1616.

The vast area in which the Rospigliosi-Pallavicini Palace is situated was the property of Cardinal Scipione Borghese Caffarelli from 1610 to 1616. He was the nephew of Pope Paolo V Borghese (1605-1622). The cardinal was renowned for his never-ending activity of gathering of art works and patrimonies for his family. He was also passionate for construction and built the “Montecavallo Garden” near the magnificent Pontifical Palace of the Quirinale, for which his uncle Paolo V had dedicated numerous efforts. Scipione owned this site for less than a decade, 1610-1616, and commissioned the construction and decoration of the casino and pergolata, facing the garden of Montecavallo. The Roman palace of this name should not be mistaken for the panoramic Villa Pallavicino on the shore.

Later the palace passed to the Bentivoglio, later still to cardinal G.Mazarini, who enlarged it with the aim to settle here his family and the French personalities and ambassadors staying in Rome, who before were housed in Palazzo Farnese. In 1704 the palace became a property of the Rospigliosi-Pallavicini (still living there), who adjoined some more constructions, enriched its decoration and placed here the famous Galleria d'arte, which exists till now. The Galleria Pallavicini is one of the few art collections of numerous great noble families, that survived. It was founded by Nicolo Pallavicini and his son cardinal Lazzaro Pallavicini, and includes more than 540 paintings, designs and sculptures by such artists as Rubens, A.Carracci, P.da Cortona, Botticelli, L.Lotto, L.Signorelli, G.Reni, Guercino, and etc. The halls are frescoed by P.Brill, and a loggia in a garden is covered by frescoes by O.Gentileschi and Tassi.
Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden, Rome
The main entrance is preceded by an elegant portico, leading to a secret garden, where Casino Pallavicini, designed by G.Vasanzio is located. The pavilion contains celebrated fresco by G.Reni "Aurora scattering flowers before the chariot of the Sun" (1614). On the walls are four frescoes of the Seasons by P.Brill, and two "Triumphs" by A.Tempesta.

The artistic collections go through the same procedure of division between families and physical location as of today. The Rospigliosi Collection, enriched for almost two centuries together with the Pallavicini collection, is, without a doubt, one of the most important although less visible Roman art collections both for art historians who have seldom had the chance to study and appreciate it and for the public who hasn’t had the chance to see it.

The collection is made of 123 paintings and ten sculptures (in the 1700s, with the Pallavicini family, it included about 700 artworks which went lost). Only 21 paintings, the “crème de la crème” of the collection, were exhibited in the year 2000. The 123 works (87 attributed paintings; 36 anonymous: ten sculptures; two bas-reliefs; seven busts; one angel on a dolphin) are extremely interesting and have survived the two sales in 1931-32 made to fill the economic gaps of the family economy.

The palace's main attraction, beside the art gallery, is the Casino dell'Aurora. The casino was designed by Vasanzio is located overlooking the Piazza del Quirinale. On the walls are four frescoes of the 'Seasons' by Paul Brill, and two 'Triumphs' by Antonio Tempesta. Its ceiling displays what is considered the Bolognese painter Guido Reni's fresco masterpiece (1624). It is surrounded by a painted frame or quadro riportato and depicts 'Apollo in his Chariot preceded by Dawn (Aurora)' bringing light to the world. The facades of the palace are plain, with rusticated ashlar works on its sides and a central portico. On the first floor is the Pallavicini Gallery with works with Botticelli, Rubens, Caravaggio and Titian (just to mention some). Inside the garden is the Casino dell'Aurora famous for the Aurora fresco painted on the ceiling by Guido Reni. More Details: Brief Guide to the Rospigliosi-Pallavicini

The collection of paintings of the Gallery can be seen with a special authorization given by the Pallavicini Administration (info 06.4744019).
The Casino dell'Aurora is open and free every first day of the month from 1am to 12 am and from 3pm to 5 pm (info 06.4814344).

Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini (Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden)
Via 24 Maggio, 43
00184, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Monti (Colosseo-S.Giovanni-S.Maria Maggiore) (Roma centro)
Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavicini (Rospigliosi Pallavicini Palace and Garden) is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "94"
Bus: H - 40 - 60 - 64 - 70 - 117 - 170
Telephone: 0039 06 47848064 - 0039 06 4682 297/376

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