Visiting Rome: Galleria Colonna, a Baroque jewel in the heart of the Eternal City
The Galleria Colonna is the most famous area of Palazzo Colonna in Rome, an authentic jewel of Baroque art. It is situated in the heart of Rome, in piazza dei Santi Apostoli, where the basilica stands. The Palace belongs to the powerful noble Colonna family, well known in the city.
The creation of the Galleria Colonna is a work by Girolamo Colonna, who lived in the first half of the 17th century: he was Cardinal and Archbishop of the Catholic Church. The construction of the Galleria Colonna began in 1654, eight years before the death of Girolamo Colonna. The first to work on the project was Antonio Del Grande - Girolamo Colonna had entrusted him with the renovation of Palazzo Colonna in order to create a unique architectural complex, 4 years before the beginning of works of the Gallery.
The work was completed at the beginning of the eighteenth century and inaugurated in 1703 by Filippo II Colonna, from the Kingdom of Naples, great-grandson of Cardinal Mazzarino.
Works of art in the Galleria Colonna
The Galleria Colonna consists in different areas. The main hall (Sala Grande) is the one that gives the name to the entire gallery. The other rooms are: Sala della Colonna Bellica, Sala dell'Apoteosi di Martino V, and Sala dei Paesaggi.
The primary purpose of the Gallery was to exalt the victory of Christians over the Turks, in Lepanto, in 1571. One of the most important historical figures of the battle was Marcantonio II Colonna, head of the Papal fleet. You can see his representation in the fresco in the Sala della Colonna Bellica, where there is also the painting depicting Venus Cupid and S del Bronzino. The Sala Grande is illuminated by masterpieces by Tintoretto, Guercino, Salviati, Rosa and Lanfranco. Still inside the Sala Grande, you can contemplate the numerous portraits of the noble family Colonna.
In the Sala dei Paesaggi, there is a faithful reproduction of the Universal Judgment by Michelangelo. In the Sala dell'Apotheosi di Martino V there is the masterpiece by Carracci, the Beans eater. In the same room, there are paintings by Tintoretto - Onofrio Panvinio - and by Veronese - The Gentleman.
Fun facts about Galleria Colonna
In the room of Galleria Colonna , Vittorio Emanuele I was crowned, in the first years of the 1800's. Moreover, the Gallery has hosted also the final resumptions of the film Vacanze Romane. The collection the room hosts has now lost its original value: the Colonna family decided to help the Papal State in a moment of serious economic crisis, selling some of the most important works of their private collection, so renouncing to paintings by Raffaello, Correggio, Veronese, Tiziano and Guercino.
Before it was completed, the Galleria Colonna was planned to be an architectural work itself, not just a simple museum where to put pictures and other works of art of the family. We should say the Gallery is not the only one museum inside Palazzo Colonna, as the entire building includes the Museum of Waxes - open every day from the 9 am to the 9 pm - and the former Caffee-Haus, where you can admire the fresco "Amore and Psyche" by Francisco Mancini.
How to get to the Galleria Colonna
Palazzo Colonna is easily accessible by public transport or by feet, if you book a hotel close to the historical centre of Rome. The exact address of the entrance door of Palazzo Colonna is Via della Pillotta, just a few steps from Piazza del Quirinale and the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Not far from there, there are also the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Venezia, without forgetting the Trajan's Column. From Piazza Venezia to Palazzo Colonna, it takes just 200 meters, about 3 minutes by feet. The Trevi fountain is situated about 5 minutes by feet, along Via San Vincenzo and Via dei Lucchesi, to then reach Piazza della Pilotta.
If you stay far from the famous Palace of the noble Colonna family, you can take the underground, line A till Spagna stop, and then on foot. From Piazza di Spagna to Palazzo Colonna you have to walk for about 10 minutes, following indications to Fontana di trevi and Basilica dei Santi XII Apostoli. By bus, the closest stop is in Piazza Venezia, by lines 40, 60, 64, 70, 170, H, N7, N8, N9, N15 and N18. An alternative by public means can be getting off at Nazionale/Quirinale stop, by the latter lines.
Schedules and prices to visit Galleria Colonna
The entrance to Palazzo Colonna is granted to the public only one day per week, on Saturday mornings. The opening is at 9 am, closing at 1.15 pm. So you have just 4 hours to admire one of the most interesting works of art of Rome, in a historical building boasting a history of over 500 years.
If you are interested in visiting it, check any changes in advance by the official website of Palazzo Colonna. You can also request a guided tour, available three times a day (at 10 am, 11 am and 12.30pm). The price of the ticket is 12 Euros.
You can combine a visit to the apartment of the Princess Isabelle or with the gardens on the Quirinale Hill, for 25 and 20 Euros respectively. If you choose to visit the whole complex of Palazzo Colonna (Gallery, gardens and the apartment of Princess Isabelle), the cost is about 30 Euros.
If you fit into one of these categories, you are entitled to a reduction - 10 Euros instead of 12 : over 60, children from 13 to 17 years old, disabled, groups of 6 or more people, students enrolled at university, soldiers and journalists.
Children up to 12 years and carers of disabled people have right to free admission. If you want to enjoy a private tour, available seven days a week except Saturday morning, you must send a request to the official email address or call the Galleria Colonna srl. The contacts are available on the official website.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Panama Garden, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic location.