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Campo de' Fiori

Palazzo & Galleria Spada - It's all about perspective

Palazzo & Galleria Spada - It's all about perspective

Behind Campo de Fiori, Palazzo Spada, the baroque masterpiece perfected by Borromini, is one of those wonders that deserves much more attention than they get. The Palace was built in the mid 1500’s and bought by Cardinal Spada in 1632, in order to have a home in the eternal city worthy of his rank.

In order to achieve the sumptuous baroque residence he was yearning for, he enlisted Francesco Borromini, one of the main architects of the period. The masterpiece of Borromini was to give the building such elements that let it appear larger than it actually is, the most noteworthy of which is the forced perspective gallery.

The corridor which appear to be 37 metres long (at least to those with a sharp mathematical eye) is actually merely 8 metres in length. The deceit is based on careful calculations and the decreasing height of the columns and the rising level of the pavement. Furthermore, in order to make it appear even more realistic he placed a statue of Apollo at the far end. The statue appears to be at least a life size monument to the pagan divinity but is in fact barely 80cm tall!

Oh the wonders that architecture can muster in “small” spaces! However, the beauties of Palazzo Spada aren’t all contained within a single corridor. The Galleria Spada, which hosts the cardinals personal collection includes masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rubens, Guido Reni, Bruegels the elder, Tiziano among others.

The Palazzo is accessible to everyone, although not in it’s entirety since parts of it are home to the Italian Council of State, a fundamental organ for the tutelage of individual and constitutional rights in front of the jurisdictional and administrative organs of the government. However, the gallery, the garden and beautiful courtyard are visitable daily, except for Tuesdays.


Palazzo Spada

Piazza Capodiferro, 13


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