The Grand Palaces of Rome

must see palaces in rome

The best of Rome’s palazzi and their artistic masterpieces

Political headquarters, embassies, papal residences, Rome’s  grand palazzi have a long, colorful history filled with priceless works of art. We’ve organized a list of the top must- see palazzi in the city, and why they are worth visiting.

Palazzo Spada

galleria spada rome

Although positioned outside the entrance, the Borromini gallery is probably the most important display in the Spada palace. Developed on the basis of mathematical calculations by the Augustinian friar Giovanni da Bitonto, Borromini‘s equivalent of Bernini’s Scala Regia teases the observer’s eye: the 37-metre tapered colonnade actually measures only 8.8 metres; the gigantic statue of Mars at the end is little taller than a statuette.

Piazza Capo di ferro, 13
Mon-Fri 8.30am-7.30pm (closed on Tue)
€5/€2, free first Sunday of the month

Palazzo Madama

palazzo madama

Although it is the seat of the Italian senate, (and has been since 1871) Palazzo Madama has a long and colourful history: it was built by the Medici family on the ruins of Nero’s ancient baths, and received its name from Madama Margherita of Austria, Emperor Charles V’s illegitimate daughter.

Piazza Madama (Corso Rinascimento)
Visits to the palace are temporarily suspended, contact or +39 06.67062177 for further information

Palazzo Altemps

palazzo altemps

Although it is one of the lesser-known museums, Palazzo Altemps is a work of art in its own right: frescoed rooms with painted wood beamed ceilings are part of its charm, and it houses works such as the Grand Ludovisi Sarcophagus and the sculpture “Gaul killing himself and his wife.”

Piazza di Sant’Apollinare, 46
Tue-Sun 11am-6pm
€8/€2, free first Sunday of the month and/or under 18 years old)

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

must see palaces of rome mattei di giove

Designed 17th century style by Carlo Maderno, this grand palazzo is worth visiting for the beautiful multi-story courtyard at its core and its impressive collection of statues, busts and reliefs.

Via Michelangelo Caetani, 32
Temporarily closed

Palazzo del Quirinale


Palazzo del Quirinale, the main official residence of the president of the Italian Republic, is a masterpiece of regal interior design. Pope Gregory XIII commissioned Italy’s finest architects and artists to construct this summer home: Domenico Fontana (the facade), Carlo Maderno (the chapel) and Guido Reni was responsible for the frescos inside. Reservations must be made online and ahead of time.

Piazza del Quirinale
Tue-Sun 9.30am- 4pm (reservations only, 5 days in advance)
€1.50 Artistic-Institutional itinerary/ Thematic itinerary/ Quirinale Contemporaneo

Palazzo di Montecitorio

must see palaces in rome palazzo di montiecitoric

This magnificent palace is home to Italy’s Chamber of Duties (Camera dei Deputati) and is also the centre stage for political power play in the Bel Paese. The Baroque palace was built by none other than the master himself, Bernini, in 1653.

Piazza Montecitorio
10am-6pm first Sunday of every month only
free entrance

Palazzo Farnese

sala dei fasti

The Palazzo Farnese is graced with one of the must-see artistic treasures in Rome: the glorious Carracci Galleria entitled “The Love of the Gods”. All 133 square meters of it are restored, as well as other notable works of art in the French embassy building. 

Piazza Farnese, 67
Mon, Wed at 3/4/5pm or Fri at 3/4pm (reservations only, 7 days in advance)

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

Doria Pamphilj Gallery

Owned by the Pamphilj family, the Doria Pamphilj Gallery exhibits some of the most magnificent pieces of artwork, sculptures and décor; from Caravaggio to Bernini, from Velàzquez to Tiziano, from Raffaello to Memling and many others.

Via del Corso, 305
Mon-Thu 9am-7pm, Fri-Sun 10am-8pm

Palazzo Colonna

must see palaces of rome palazzo colonna

The palazzo and galleria Colonna belong to the Colonna family, one of the oldest aristocratic families in Rome. A gem of Baroque art, the Palace contains works by Pinturicchio, Cosmè Tura, Carracci, Guido Reni, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Bronzino, Guercino, Veronese, Vanvitelli.

Via della Pilotta, 17
Sat 9.15am-1.15pm. Private tours on Friday.
€16.50 short tour/€26.50 long tour

Palazzo Barberini

must see palaces in rome palazzo barberini

Built in 1549, Palazzo Barberini is not just a classic example of an massive regal Roman palace; it is the house of the National Gallery of Ancient Art, which contains one of Italy’s the most renowned painting collections (Raphael, Caravaggio and Holbein line the walls.)

Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13
Tue-Sun 8:30am-7pm
€ 16/ € 13, free for under 18 years old

Palazzo Venezia


This iconic edifice, although also notorious as Mussolini’s headquarters, has long been home to popes, cardinals, and ambassadors. Commissioned by the Venetian pope Pietro Barbo, Palazzo Venezia stands as one of the main examples of Roman Renaissance architecture: its inner gardens, fountains, the majestic reception rooms, and not to mention the National Museum. Worth a visit! 

Via del Plebiscito, 118
Large garden: Mon-Sun 9.30am-7.30pm; National Museum: Mon-Sun (guided tour only) 10.30am-4.30pm.

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