Palazzo Barberini, right off Piazza Barberini, is one of the most magnificent baroque palaces in Rome. It was begun by Carlo Maderno in 1627 and completed in 1633 by Bernini, whose lavishly decorated rococo apartments, the Gallery of Decorative Art (Galleria d'Arte Decorativa), are on view. This gallery is part of the National Gallery of Ancient Art.
The bedroom of Princess Cornelia Costanza Barberini and Prince Giulio Cesare Colonna di Sciarra stands just as it was on their wedding night, and many household objects are displayed in the decorative art gallery. In the chambers, which boast frescoes and hand-painted silk linings, you can see porcelain from Japan and Bavaria, canopied beds, and a wooden baby carriage.
On the first floor is a splendid array of paintings from the 13th to the 16th centuries, most notably Mother and Child, by Simone Martini, and works by Fillipino Lippi, Andrea Solario, and Francesco Francia. Il Sodoma has some brilliant pictures here, including The Rape of the Sabines and The Marriage of St. Catherine. One of the best-known paintings is Raphael's beloved La Fornarina, the baker's daughter who was his mistress and who posed for his Madonna portraits. Titian is represented by his Venus and Adonis. Also here are Tintorettos and El Grecos. Many visitors come just to see the magnificent Caravaggios, including Narcissus.
- © Frommer's 2013
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