One of the most precious rooms of the Quirinal Palace in Rome, the Paolina Chapel, has reopened to the public and can now be visited alongside several other rooms in the building that has been home to 30 popes, four kings of Italy and 12 presidents of the Italian Republic (it is currently the official residence of the president of the Italian Republic).
The Cappella Paolina takes its name from pope Paul V Borghese, who ordered its construction in 1615 to have a space in the Quirinal Palace that would be as large as the Sistine Chapel, of which it also replicated the space distribution. The goal was to be able to officiate ceremonials at either the Vatican or the Quirinal. Starting in 1823, the Paolina Chapel was used four times for the papal conclave.
Built by Carlo Maderno, the architect who did the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Paolina Chapel features a marble floor, white and gilded stucco decoration in the vault, and an imposing marble balcony, the so-called cantoria, which used to hold the chorus during singing masses.
Every Sunday, the chapel hosts a concert open to the public and broadcast live on the radio.
To learn more about visiting the Quirinal Palace, read our dedicated article.