5 buildings that matter in art in Rome

1) Palazzo Sacchetti

A rare example of a palace that’s still inhabited by the noble family after which it’s named – hence the difficulty in visiting. The interior is frescoed by renowned Renaissance artists such as Francesco Salviati. The garden features a Roman nymphaeum, which would have reached the Tiber. The structure also makes an appearance in Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning The Great Beauty. The palazzo can be visited on request.

Palazzo Sacchetti

Via Giulia 66

+39 (0)6 6830 8950

2) Palazzo della Cancelleria

The earliest Renaissance palace in Rome. Today it hosts a permanent exhibit on Leonardo Da Vinci and several Holy See tribunals. It’s also the reported residence of Cardinal Bernard Law, the former Boston archbishop who resigned amid the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. You need an advance reservation to visit, but you can see part of it with the Leonardo show.

Palazzo della Cancelleria

Piazza della Cancelleria 1

+39 (0)6 6988 7566

3) Palazzo Massimo Alle Colonne – Private Chapel

The convex palazzo façade owes its curved shape to the foundations of the ancient theatre it’s built upon. The current structure, which dates back to 1536, includes a private chapel, open only on March 16, from 7 am to 1 pm, to mark when Saint Philip Neri miraculously brought a young boy back to life here on that day.

exterior of Palazzo Massimo Alle Colonne

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 141

+39 (0)6 6880 1545

4) Casino Boncompagni Ludovisi

A 16th-century urban villa built according to a cross-shaped plan, renowned as much for its striking Renaissance architecture as for the famous artwork inside. Of note are a fresco by Guercino (Aurora in the Sala dell’Aurora) and an oil by Caravaggio, the Baroque master’s only ceiling painting. Open Monday through Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm. You need to book in advance: tatiana@principedipiombino.com

Salla dell Aurora in the Casino Boncompagni Ludovisi

Via Lombardia 46

+39 (0)6 483 942

5) Casino dell'Aurora Pallavicini

The Renaissance palace that belonged to Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the legendary art collector who gave us the Borghese Gallery and sponsored such Baroque icons as Caravaggio and Bernini. The palace’s main room, which features Guido Reni’s masterpiece fresco L’Aurora, can be seen for free the first day of every month except January (from 10 to 12 am and 3 to 5 pm). Private visits available on request.

Casino dell'Aurora Pallavicini

Buy this book

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Rome reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Rome's best-kept secrets.

Go to bookshop

Join the community

Sign up for free to gain unlimited access to the website. Plus, you'll receive a 10% discount in our online bookshop.

Sign up