Palazzo Farnese is the most imposing Late Renaissance palace of the sixteen century located in Rome. Set in the middle of a small square, Palazzo Farnese is an impressive testament to the great artists of the Renaissance: Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo, Vignola, and Giacomo Della Porta.
Construction started in 1514 after a design by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. When he died in 1546 Michelangelo took over the project and added several new elements to the design such as the three meter long cornice. Michelangelo also started implementing a plan to connect the palace with Villa Farnesina across the river, also owned by the Farnese family. It was never completed and the only section that was built is the elegant bridge across Giulia Street.
Palazzo Farnese has three floors, which find clear expression on the superb, linear façade. The austere brick ornamentation is variously shaded, this colouring having been revealed during a recent restoration. It is unclear why such dissimilar bricks were used.
Giacomo della Porta
After Michelangelo died in 1564 the Farnese Palace was finished by Giacomo della Porta who worked on the building until 1589. Much of the structure was built with materials taken from the Baths of Caracalla and the Colosseum. Many of the Colosseum’s outer arches were destroyed in the process.
After the Farnese line died out in the eighteenth century, the palace fell into the hands of the Bourbons. In 1874 the French Embassy moved into the palace. Until 2012 this meant the palace was closed to the public, but after a temporary exhibit proved enormously popular, the palace decided to organize guided tours, which can be booked online.
Location: Piazza Farnese, 67 | Regola, 00186 Rome
Nearby hotels: Appia Antica Resort, Portrait Roma, Deko Rome
Nearby sights: Colosseum, Pantheon, Borghese Gallery