Located in the namesake piazza of Rome, Palazzo Barberini is notable both for its architectural excellence and for the fact it is now home to the National Gallery of Ancient Art (parts of the collections of this gallery are hosted by the Corsini Palace). The gallery’s collections aside, the palace in itself is a view worth appreciating for the way it complements and it balances the landscape of the square.

The palace was built during the pontificate of Urban VIII, born of the Barberini family. The construction works were initiated in 1627, just to be completed 6 years later. Three architects worked at designing the building, namely, Carlo Maderno, Francesco Borromini and, finally, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (who supervised the completion of the works). There are several unique features which single this palace out, features which, at the time, were deemed highly innovative and, hence, applied in the design of sundry other edifices throughout Europe. We speak here of the false-perspective windows (the merit of Borromini) and of the design of the so-called cour d’honneur, enclosed on two sides by even wings and by a back oval hall.

The chief highlight in terms of decorations refers to the allegorical scene of the Divine Providence and Barberini Power by Pietro da Cortona, a fresco which adorns the ceiling of the oval hall. Other notable frescoes are the works of Andrea Camassei and Giuseppe Passeri which embellish the ceilings of the rooms located on the first floor (piano nobile) of the palace. The garden of the palace, suggestively called the “secret garden” (giardino segreto), given it can not be seen from people who don’t actually enter the palace, can also be admired by tourists who visit the museum, along with its decorative and artistic patrimony.

Palazzo Barberini (Barberini Palace)
13, Via delle Quattro Fontane, 00184, Rome, Italy
0039 06 32810 / 0039 06 4814591
0039 06 8555952