Borghese Palace

Borghese Palace
Borghese Palace

The history of Italy has been marked throughout its evolution by the great families that dominated different territories and fought each other to control the power of the country, so we can highlight families such as the Medici, the Sforza or as in the case which concerns us here the Borghese. The Borghese family was a noble Italian family whose origins must go back to the thirteenth century in Siena, thus the first news we have about one of the members of this outstanding family is about a wool seller whose grandson would already have the famous surname Borghese. However, it was not until the fifteenth century that the family settled definitively in Rome, becoming one of the most powerful factions at that time.


In this context we must point out how the Borghese Palace became the official residence of this family in the Roman capital. The building can be classified within the last years of Mannerist aesthetics or even as one of the first manifestations of the Baroque style, and its extraordinary trapezoidal floor plan has given it the nickname of Cemablo or harpsichord, a kind of piano.

Located in the center of the city, one of its short facades is located in front of the Tiber River while the two long facades appear oriented to the square that bears the name of the family and the other to one ofthe homonymous fountains, a way of highlighting the influence and power of the family in the city. It is a vertebrate palace through a courtyard with seven arcades -at first there should only be five but the original project was modified- that are supported by more than ninety columns made of granite and decorated with statues.

It seems that the palatial complex could have been started in the sixties around the year 1561. According to some of the most outstanding historians of all time, the facade that is in front of the fountain as well as the first traces of the building must have been designed by Vignola who proposed a three-story building with a central patio that served as the backbone of the complex. At that time, the palace was not yet owned by the Borghese family but by Monsignor Paolo del Giglio, and when the priest died, the palace became the property of Cardinal Pedro Deza, a Spaniard who first appointed Martino Longhi the Elder as architect and later the architect Flavio Ponzio. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Borghese family acquired the building, specifically Cardinal Camilo Borghese, who ascended and was named pope –Paul V- donated the palace for the residence of his brothers.

The palace was the seat of the impressive painting collection that the family owned, however at the end of the 19th century it was moved to the Villa Borghese, specifically to the famous Borghese Gallery. Today the Spanish embassy is located in the palace.

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