Palazzo del Quirinale is a historic palace in Rome, located on the homonymous hill, overlooking the homonymous square. The palace was the official residence of the King of Italy since 1870, and is the residence of the President of the Italian Republic since 1946.
Before the construction of the Quirinal Palace, on this site was a building known as Villa di Monte Cavallo, one of the Roman residences of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este.
In 1583, Pope Gregory XIII began an expansion of the villa, to make it a real summer residence. The project was entrusted to the architect Ottaviano Mascherino and the works were completed in 1585.
The successor of Gregory XIII, Pope Sixtus V, decided in 1587 to buy the villa with the intention of making it the summer residence of the pontiff. With the help of the architect Domenico Fontana, he expanded the palace and remodeled the entire area.
Pope Paul V was the pontiff who commissioned the completion of the works on the main building of the Quirinale. He entrusted the extension work to Flaminio Ponzio, who built the wing facing the garden, Sala del Concistoro and Cappella dell’Annunziata (Chapel of the Annunciation).
After the death of Ponzio in 1613, the works were continued by Carlo Maderno, author of the wing on Via del Quirinale, where he created the most famous rooms of the whole complex, including the Pauline Chapel, the papal apartments and Sala Regia.
Pope Urban VIII continued the expansion of the complex with the purchase of land in the area, enlarging the property towards the east. He erected a wall that surrounded the new perimeter of the Quirinal complex, and a facade tower for defensive purposes.
Around the middle of the 17th century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned to design the building known as Manica Lunga (Long Sleeve), realizing the first section between 1657 and 1659. The structure was continued between 1722 and 1724 by Alessandro Specchi, and completed by Ferdinando Fuga between 1730 and 1732.
Palazzo del Quirinale was the residence of the popes until 1871, when Rome was annexed to the newborn Kingdom of Italy, and King Vittorio Emanuele II confiscated it to place his official residence there. The palace then became the residence of the kings of Italy until 1946.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The palace consists of a central body, which develops around the majestic Courtyard of Honor, while the offices and apartments of the head of state are housed in the buildings at the bottom of the so-called Manica Lunga, on the long side along Via del Quirinale.
The Hall of the Cuirassiers (Salone dei Corazzieri), measuring 37 meters in length, 12 in width, and 19 in height, was the throne room of the papal palace, where ambassadors and dignitaries were received.
The Pauline Chapel (Cappella Paolina) has the same architectural and proportional characteristics as the Sistine Chapel in Vatican, with a large vaulted room of about 42 meters in length, 13 in width and 20 in height. The vault of the chapel was decorated in 1616 with a rich white and gilded stucco, work of Martino Ferrabosco.
The First State Room (Prima Sala di Rappresentanza) was built by Carlo Maderno at the beginning of the 17th century, and was originally part of the apartment of Pope Paul V Borghese. In 1616, Agostino Tassi decorated the frieze with scenes from the life of Saint Paul, and with the coats of arms of the Borghese family.
The Hall of the Loggias (Sala delle Logge) has a decorated frieze attributed to Bernardo Castello, made during the time of the same Paolo V. The Yellow Room (Sala Gialla) has rich furnishings, including four splendid French tapestries, three large 19th-century consoles and three 18th-century porcelain vases.
Of the 1200 rooms of the palace, we can also mention the Hall of Augustus (Sala di Augusto), known until the mid-1900s as the Throne Room, the Hall of the Ambassadors (Sala degli Ambasciatori), the Mascarino Staircase (Scala del Mascherino), a helicoidal staircase built between 1583 and 1584 on a project by Ottaviano Mascherino, the Loggia of Honor (Loggia d’Onore), the Bronzino Room (Sala del Bronzino), the Hall of the Zodiac (Sala dello Zodiaco), the Hall of Mirrors (Sala degli Specchi) and the Great Hall of Banquets (Salone delle Feste).
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is Barberini, on the Metro Line A, located about 750 meters away. The closest bus stop is Traforo/Tritone, located about 300 meters away, on the bus Lines 71 and 117.
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