Palazzo del Quirinale

piazza del quirinale panorama

The Palace of Quirinale is a grand structure standing on the northwest slope of the Quirinal, the highest hill in Rome. It was the principal summer palace of the pope from 1592 to 1870 and the residence of the monarch from 1870 to 1947; it has been the official residence of the Italian president since 1947. Its historical importance is probably greater than its architectural significance.

Palace of Quirinale History

piazza del quirinale and palace

Palace of Quirinale was begun by Pope Gregory XIII in 1583 as a summer retreat, on the site of an earlier villa, and by 1592 Clement VIII was in residence. In 1625 Urban VIII had the palace and the newly enlarged gardens enclosed with fortifications, a project probably supervised by Carlo Maderno. Construction and expansion continued until the 18th century.

Palace of Quirinale

Quirinale Palace is harmonious in style despite the fact that many architects played a role in its construction and expansion. Ottaviano Mascherino originally began the current building as a free-standing villa when he designed the two-story loggia on the north side of the courtyard, the clock tower, and an oval spiral staircase.

Construction at Quirinale Palace was continued by Giovanni and Domenico Fontana for Sixtus V, and the main body of the palace was completed under Paul V by Flaminio Ponzio and, after the latter’s death, by Carlo Maderno. The portal of the main fa├žade, by Maderno, is decorated with statues of St Peter and St Paul. Above is a benediction loggia by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, decorated with a Virgin and Child group by Pompeo Ferrucci. The Chapel of the Annunciation was designed by Ponzio.

Palace in quirinale square

The Sala Regia is by Carlo Maderno, as is the Pauline Chapel, which was built to house conclaves and is on the same scale as the Sistine Chapel. The manica lunga (‘long wing’), which housed the cardinals during conclaves, was lengthened and enlarged by Bernini and Ferdinando Fuga; Fuga built the Coffee House in the garden of Pope Benedict XIV.

Many artists decorated the interior of the palace in a variety of styles over several decades; it has a Rococo library and a chinoiserie salon, and some of the fireplaces are decorated with ancient Roman mosaics brought from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. The Chapel of the Annunciation was decorated by Guido Reni in 1610 with the Birth of the Virgin, the Annunciation and figures, and other scenes from the life of the Virgin. The chapel also contains a Presentation in the Temple and other figures by Antonio Carracci. The Pauline Chapel has gilded stucco decorations and a sculpted lunette.

quirinale palace hall

Between 1742 and 1743 Giovanni Paolo Panini painted one of the rooms in the mezzanines with imaginary architectural views and the Coffee House with historical scenes of Rome. Other paintings in the Coffee House are by Pompeo Batoni, Agostino Masucci, and others. The Appartamento Napoleonico was decorated by Felice Giani and Francesco Manno. The large garden has an impressive Organ Fountain and a labyrinth.

Palazzo Quirinale Location

Quirinal Palace Address: Piazza del Quirinale, 00187 Roma, Italy. Get help with directions using the map provided below:

Palazzo Quirinale Map

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