Palazzo Farnese

Piazza Farnese 67. (Open Map)


The palace, nicknamed “il dado” (the Dice) because of its shape, was began in 1517 by Antonio da Sangallo the Young for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became pope in 1534 with the name of Paul III (1534-1549). When Sangallo died, the works went on under Michelangelo (1546-1549), then Vignola (1569-1573) and Giacomo Della Porta, who finished the palace in 1589. 

Sangallo did the facades looking onto Piazza Farnese and the side roads, while Michelangelo did the central window, the cornice and the third fllor of the court. 

The rear façade was designed by Vignola and completed by Della Porta. At the end of 1500 the rooms of the building were decorated for Cardinal Odoardo by Annibale and Agostino Carracci (1587-1604). 

The building was acquired in the 18th century to the Borbone family of Naples. They spoiled it of its statues and the Farnese collection. It is now the seat of the Embassy of France. 

The facade overlooking Piazza Farnese was decorated by Michelangelo with the impressive upper cornice and over the central balcony he carved the irises of the Farnese coat of arms. 

The rear façade overlooking via Giulia is the best example of the building’s elegant architecture. Inside is the great three-nave atrium by Sangallo, whose entrance is from the courtyard surrounded by an arched portico. 

On the piano nobile is the famous Gallery that was frescoed between 1597 and 1604 by Annibale Carracci, aided by his brother Agostino, Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco. 

The great hall has a rich coffered ceiling, tapestries reproducing Raphael frescoes of the Vatican rooms and, at the sides of the fireplace, are the lying statues of Abundance and Peace by Guglielmo Della Porta. The near Sala dei Fasti Farnesiani was decorated by Francesco Salviati and the Zuccari brothers.