Palazzo della Cancelleria

Palazzo della Cancelleria

Palazzo della Cancelleria History

Palazzo della Cancelleria courtyard and columns

Built between 1485–1511 as the palace of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, the Palazzo della Cancelleria was later used as the offices of the papal chancery and, under Napoleon, as law courts. It stands on the Piazza della Cancelleria and is now the residence of the Cardinal-Vicar of Rome.

The palace is one of the most important and influential examples of 15th-century Roman architecture, but no documentation identifies its architects. Raffaele Riario, the great-nephew of Sixtus IV, traditionally financed the palace with the winnings of one night’s gambling. It was taken from the Riario family after they were involved in a plot against Pope Leo X; the offices of the papal chancery were then installed. The church of S Lorenzo in Damaso, rebuilt with the palace, was incorporated into its fabric.

Palazzo della Cancelleria columns

The long travertine façade, probably completed by 1495, is an elegant and delicate combination of flat rustication with paired pilasters on the first and second stories; it is framed with slight protruding end bays.

The windows are based on an ancient Roman prototype. The design, which reflects the influence of Alberti’s Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, has been interpreted as combining elements typical of Florence, Urbino, and Rome.

Palazzo della Cancelleria inside

The wild rose, the Riario family emblem, is used in the decoration. The ground floor of the side flank incorporates shops; the Cancelleria was the first Renaissance palace to revive this ancient Roman tradition. The simple and harmonious courtyard features superimposed open loggias and a closed second-story decorated with pilasters.

It is said that the 44 granite columns were taken from the Theatre of Pompey and that stones from the Colosseum were used for general building purposes.

Palazzo della Cancelleria Location

Address: Piazza della Cancelleria, 1, 00100 Roma, Italy. Get help with directions using the map provided below:

Palazzo della Cancelleria Map

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