Galleria Corsini in Rome
Art and culture

Explore private art collections in Rome

April 11, 2022

Discover Rome’s private art collections of notable and noble families, many in their original homes. Featuring art from the 16th to 19th centuries in villas surrounded by Italian gardens, here’s an inside glimpse of five of our favourites.

Villa Albani Torlonia

This mid-18th century villa, close to Galleria Borghese, was founded in 1875, while its collection dates back to 1800. Prince Alessandro Albani established Fondazione Torlonia to preserve and promote the Torlonia family’s private collection of carved stone busts, statues and more than 600 marbles for future generations. With an art historian as your guide, you’ll find restorers at work and enjoy time in the villa’s beautiful grounds – a formal Italian garden with avenues of pines and holm oaks and views across the Sabine Mountains and Alban Hills.

92 Via Salaria, 00192 Rome

Painting inside Villa Albani Torlonia in Rome
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in Rome

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

Dating back to the 16th century, this mansion, close to the Pantheon, belongs to the Doria di Oneglia family. Most of the family’s collection of artworks is housed in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery’s four wings, halls and rooms. The Aldobrandini Room displays fragments of frescoes from 1507, and the Room of the Primitives showcases paintings on wooden panels. Highlights include Caravaggio’s ‘The Penitent Mary Magdalene,’ Titian’s ‘Salome with the head of John Baptist’ and a portrait by Raphael. The gallery is a work of art itself, with a painted ceiling and damask velvet walls.

305 Via del Corso, 00186 Rome

Galleria Corsini

Set on the River Tiber’s west bank, this gallery was built for a cardinal in 1511 and renovated in the 1600s by HM The Queen Christina of Sweden, who developed the ground-floor statues, first-floor paintings and Queen’s Alcove’s frescoes. The Corsinis purchased the property in 1736, adding a second wing and grand staircase before Prince Tommaso Corsini donated it to the state in 1883. Today you can see works by Caravaggio, Rubens and Antoon Van Dyck’s ‘Madonna of the Straw’ before exploring the grounds, now home to the Botanical Gardens of Rome.

10 Via della Lungara, 00165 Rome

Interior of Galleria Corsini in Rome
Image © Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Galleria Corsini, Roma/Alberto Novelli
Palazzo Colonna in Rome
Image © Nuova Arte Fotografica, Rome and Galleria Colonna, Rome

Palazzo Colonna

This gallery, which is close to the Trevi fountain, was built in the 14th century for the Colonna family, whose family tree can be traced back to the town of Colonna 1078. It was added to over the following five centuries, and today it’s home to the latest generation of the Colonnas, as well as their private art collection in Gallery Colonna. Take a private tour of the apartments and gallery and discover works by Guido Reni, Tintoretto and Salvator Rosa.

66 Piazza SS Apostoli, Rome

Palazzo Spada

Set on the eastern banks of the River Tiber, Palazzo Spada is next to Palazzo Farnese. It was originally built in 1540 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro, before Cardinal Bernardino Spada bought it in 1632. After expanding the palace, Spada displayed 16th and 17th century paintings and sculptures by Guido Reni, Guercino and Titian in its four halls. A key highlight is its 35m/115ft colonnaded corridor, which leads to a hedge and life-size statue… or does it? It’s actually a trick of the eye – the corridor is 9m/30ft, the hedge is carved from stone and the sculpture is only hip height.

13 Piazza Capo di Ferro, 00186 Rome

Palazzo Spada in Rome

Once you’ve visited Rome’s private collections and galleries, take some time to explore its magnificent museums.

Header image courtesy of Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Galleria Corsini, Roma/Alberto Novelli

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