Ospedale del Celio Rome

What is now the Ospedale del Celio in Rome is built on the area that used to be occupied by the ancient Villa Casali. After the unification of Italy a big part of the villa was ddestroyed to make space for new constructions.

Ospedale del Celio Rome


Ospedale del Celio Rome
The interior of the complex in 1915.

The villa started its existence as property of the family Massimo, who later sold it ti the family Teofoli. Later Marquis Mario Casali inherited it from his wife Margherita di Sertorio Teofili.

At the end of the 17th century, the Casali had a house constructed by the architect Tommaso Mattei. They also had an enormous garden laid out.

In those days the main road through the villa faced the Santo Stefano Rotondo Church, while the side roads ended at the apse of the Santi Quattro Coronati Church.

In 1871 the city decided to develop the area. The owners of the land were supposed to build houses and the city would take care of the infrastructure.

Initially most of the villa was saved. However, in 1884, having decided to build a military hospital on its grounds, the city bought everything and five years later completely destroyed it. More than 50000 m² of green area disappeared.


The new military hospital was constructed between 1884 and 1889. It was designed by Colonel Luigi Durand de la Penne together with the architect Salvatore Bianchi.

It consists of a series of 30 pavilions, connected by galleries and metal walkways.

Works of  art

Ospedale del Celio Rome - Antinoo Casali
The Antinoo Casali, now in the Ny Carlsbergh Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Of the works of art collected by Cardinal Antonio Casali many were lost. Others ended up in Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsbergh Glyptotek. These include the “Casali Sarcophagus”, the “Antinoo Casali” and a mosaic depicting the “Rape of Europe”.

During excavations for the foundations of the hospital several ancient structures were unearthed.

The Basilica Hilariana was built by the pearl merchant Manius Publicius Hilarus. One of the most interesting finds was a mosaic with a depiction of the evil eye, which can now be viewed in the Antiquario Comunale del Celio. The building consisted of a porticoed courtyard surrounded by various rooms. It was probably used as a sort of temple for the followers of the goddess Cybele, who was know as the Magna Mater (“Great mother”) and was a very important deity in ancient Rome. The base of a statue dedicated to Hilarus himself, was also found in this spot.

Other ruins uneartehd in the area include those of the house of the Simmaci, a senatorial family in the Imperial era.

Ospedale del Celio – Piazza Celimontana 50, Rome

Palazzo Barberini Rome

The Palazzo Barberini is home to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (National Gallery of Ancient Art) and faces the Piazza Barberini in Rome. The present exhibition at the museum is dedicated to Michelangelo and some of his followers. A second seat of this museum can be found in the Palazzo Corsini.

Palazzo Barberini Rome

Address. opening hours and admission

Address: The building has a facade on the Piazza Barberini, but the official address and entrance to the museum is at the Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13 – Rome (tel. +39 064824184 or 064814591). Metro: Barberini (line A). Opening hours: 08.30 to 19.00. Closed: Monday, 1 January, 1 May, 25 December. Admission: 7 Euro. Discount: 3,50 Euro. For special exhibitions there is a surcharge. (Note: This information only applies to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica which is based in the palace. The rest of the building can only be visited on very special occasions.)

History and description

Before Maffeo Barberini (the future Pope Urban VIII) acquired it in 1625 the grounds were owned by the Sforza family. They were used as a vineyard and contained only one, small, building, the Palazzetto Sforza.

Carlo Maderno, assisted by his nephew Borromini, started its construction 1627. After his death, in 1629, Bernini took over. The latter completed work on the palazzo in 1633.

After the death of Urban VIII, Pope Innocent X Pamphili confiscated the building. In 1653 it was returned to the Barberini family.

There are 3 tiers of arched windows. For the top floor windows Borromini created a perspective that suggests more depth than there actually is. The two sets of stairs leading to the piano nobile were created by Bernini (the one on the left) and Borromini (the right one). The helicoidal staircase was also designed by Borromini.

The Barberini Bees - Palazzo Barberini Rome
The Barberini Bee, a family symbol.

At the back there are two symmetrical wings extending from the main block, creating a kind of courtyard. The garden at the back was called “secret” because it could not be seen from outside. The monument in the garden is dedicated to Bertel Thorwaldsen.

Several famous artists contributed frescoes to the Palazzo Barberini: Pietro da Cortona did the ceiling of the Salone, while a.o. Giuseppe Passeri and Andrea Camassei were responsible for the piano nobile.

On November 4, 1950, the European Court of Human Rights was officially created in the Palazzo Barberini, by signing the European Convention on Human Rights.

A recently found mithraeum in the rear of the building is thought to date from the 2nd century AD.

Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13 – Rome

Palazzo Bonaparte Rome

The Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome stands on the corner of the Piazza Venezia and the Via del Corso, the city’s most famous shopping street. It is called thus because Napoleon‘s mother lived here from 1818 until her death in 1836. From October 2019, part of the palace will be used as an exhibition space. The first exhibition was devoted to impressionistic painters. Continue reading “Palazzo Bonaparte Rome”

Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi Rome

The Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi is a historical building between the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli and the Via del Corso in Rome. A number of famous architects, including MadernoBernini and Vanvitelli, have contributed to the building’s development.

Weetjes Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi Rome

Opening hours and admission

The palace is still owned by the Odescalchi family. Visitors are not allowed.

Address and public transport

The address of the Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi is Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 80 – Rome. Bus: 40, 60, 64, 70, 117, 170, H, N7, N8, N9, N15, N18.


Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi Rome
The Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi in an engraving by an unknown artist.

The Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi has existed since the 15th century, although it was much smaller at the time. The original owners were the Benzoni family. When Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi acquired the building in 1622, he had it completely renovated by Carlo Maderno.

The next owners were the Colonna, who around the middle of the 17th century sold it to Cardinal Fabio Chigi. The Cardinal commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to design the facade. At the time the facade was the present left part of the building, delimited by the first eight pillars.

In 1745 Baldassarre Odescalchi, the next owner, had Nicolò Salvi and Luigi Vanvitelli widen this facade.

After a fire in 1887 the facade needed to be restored. At the same time Raffaele Ojetti renovated the facade on the Via del Corso side. Baldassarre Ladislao Odescalchi had ordered him to take the 15th century Florentine palaces as his example.

The building has a big courtyard, which was designed by Maderno . The central fountain in this courtyard is adorned with two dolphins and an eagle inside a chalice, plus the Odescalchi coat-of-arms.

The palazzo also hosts one of the very few Caravaggio paintings that are private property. The painting in question is the “Conversion of Saint Paul”, which was probably commissioned by Tiberio Cerasi in order to enliven his chapel in the Santa Maria del Popolo Church.

Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 80 – Rome

Roman Aquarium and House of Architecture Rome

The Acquario Romano (“Roman Aquarium“) is located in the center of a small park in the Esquilino district in Rome. It was built towards the end of the 19th century in a style typical of the period, called Umbertino, after the then king of Italy. Originally an aquarium, the building has held several functions during the time of its existence. At the moment it is the seat of the Casa dell’Architettura (“House of Architecture“). Continue reading “Roman Aquarium and House of Architecture Rome”

Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini Rome

The Palazzo Valentini is a historical building in an area that used to be part of Trajan’s Forum in Rome. It is the present seat of the Citta Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, which is really the Province of Rome. Continue reading “Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini Rome”

Palazzo Torlonia Giraud Rome

The Palazzo Torlonia Giraud is a historical building in the Via della Conciliazione in Rome.

Palazzo Torlonia Giraud Rome

Address and opening hours

Het adres van het Palazzo Torlonia is Via della Conciliazione 30 – Rome. Bus: 23, 34, 40 62, 280, 982, N11. Rione: Borgo. Het gebouw is niet toegankelijk voor toeristen.

History and description

Palazzo Torlonia Giraud Rome
The Palazzo Torlonia in an 18th century engraving by Giuseppe Vasi. The Via della Conciliazone did not exist yet.

The Palazzo Torlonia is a smaller version of the Palazzo della Cancelleria. Because of its likeness many people think it was designed by Andrea Bregno, although Vasari claims it was Bramante‘ s work.

Originally the Palazzo Torlonia Giraud was called the Palazzo Castellesi.

It was Cardinal Castellesi who, in 1496, started construction of the building. The cardinal had become wealthy exploiting the English dioceses of Bath and Wells, given to him by his friend Henry VII. In 1505, when construction had not even been completed yet, the cardinal came to be without money. He gave the palace to Henry VII, who turned it into the residency of the English Ambassador.

It was also Henry VII who commissioned Polidoro da Caravaggio to paint the frescoes on the walls.

When Henry VIII was crowned king a schism took place and the Palazzo was confiscated by the Holy See. It then became property of the Borghese family.

In 1720 the building came into ownership of count Giraud and one century after that it was acquired by the French Tourian family. This family had become rich by providing Napoleon’s troops with food during his occuption of Rome. The name Tourian was later Italianised and became Torlonia.

Giovanni Torlonia restored the building and also made it taller. As a result the frescoes that used to adorn the facade were lost. The entrance in the Via dei Corridori has inscription dedicated to Giovanni.

The main entrance was designed by Antonio Valeri in the 18th century. The coat of arms above this gate is that of the Torlonia.

The design of the courtyard is ascribed to Raphaël. It is framed by a portico and adorned with statues and bas reliefs. Two big marble 19th century fountains adorned with bas reliefs are place against the back wall.

In the 17th century the back of the building was connected to the Passetto del Borgo by means of a small wooden bridge. It is still possible to see where this bridge was connected to the wall.

Via della Conciliazione, 30 – Rome

Villa Farnesina Rome

The Villa Farnesina is an architecturally important Renaissance building in the Trastevere district in Rome. The villa is particularly famous because of a number of frescoes by the painter Raphael and his pupils. Continue reading “Villa Farnesina Rome”