The Palazzo Barberini is a splendid Baroque building that houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. Built on the orders of Pope Urban VIII, the palace surpasses the most luxurious residences of the Roman nobility of the time.
In 1623, after Maffeo Barberini was named Pope (Urban VIII), he ordered the architect Carlo Maderno, previously responsible for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, to build a great palace. Ground broke in 1625 and it was concluded in 1633 with Bernini.
In 1949, the Italian state acquired the palace for use as the site of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, made possible by donations from the collections of various noble families.
The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica’s collection contains over 1,400 works by major artists of the 18th-20th centuries, including Tiziano, El Greco, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and Raphael, with his famous “Portrait of a Young Woman.”
Of the many sumptuously decorated halls, one of the most striking in the palace is the central great hall, which reaches the height of the entire building. On the ceiling one can observe a monumental fresco by Pietro da Cortona. It is one of the finest works of Baroque illusionism.
The Palazzo Barberini is a magnificent museum. It is not only worth visiting to see its collection, but also to see the building itself, which is an incredible work of art.
Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13.
Tuesday through Sunday: 8.30 to 7.30.
UE citizens (18-25): €3.50.
Metro: Barberini, line A.
Bus: lines 52, 53, 56, 58, 58, 60, 61, 95, 116, 175, 492 and 590.