Recently I went inside a building I have walked or driven by probably a thousand times, the Palazzo Venezia. I had never entered the palazzo before. But it was a first Sunday of the month, consequently, the museum in Palazzo Venezia had free admission, and we decided to give it a try. Most people know Palazzo Venezia as the site of the balcony from which Benito Mussolini gave his speeches.
The palazzo itself is architecturally significant, an example of how a medieval core (today clearly seen in the medieval tower on one side), was later modified with early Renaissance elements. It’s a massive palace, clearly built more for safety than for beauty.
The rather eclectic collection focuses on early Christian art, though it also includes Renaissance paintings, ancient statuary and inscriptions, ceramics, bronzes, and tapestries.
The museum was certainly worthwhile — particularly on a free day — but, I was more impressed with the palazzo itself than the museum collection. The first courtyard is a large, lovely green oasis.
To enter the museum, you walk up a marvelous staircase, and you may see some lovely little details on the way:
The interior includes the Altoviti Hall, a stunning room with an elaborate ceiling and gorgeous frescoes, including the one at the top of this post.
But the most beautiful thing about the palazzo to me is its interior courtyard, the Lapidarium.
Oh, and the floors are beautiful too. (Yes, I have a thing for glorious floors). More on the floors of Palazzo Venezia later.