The Quirinale Palace in Rome, once a papal residence, since 1947 the home of Italy’s presidents, is now open to the public for guided visits every day except Mondays and Thursdays.
Visitors can choose between two itineraries: the shorter one, which takes approximately one hour and 20 minutes, includes a tour of the Piano Nobile and the Ground Floor; the longer one, lasting approximately two hours and 30 minutes, continues beyond the first itinerary with a tour of the Vasella room, the Gardens, and the collection of Carriages and Harnesses.
The Ground Floor houses an exhibition on the history of the palace, built in 1583, a residence for popes, kings and presidents; among the rooms open for visits here are one dedicated to the Presidents of the Republic, with the Italian Constitution, historical documents and photographs on display, and the Sala del Mappamondo, the globe room, featuring historical and institutional objects and documents.
During the visit, visitors will be able to walk along beautiful halls filled with tapestry collections, gigantic chandeliers of Murano glass, frescoes, and period clocks. Highlights include the Paolina Chapel, where chamber music concerts are held; the president's study, where the president receives international heads of state as well as political representatives during consultations for the new government; the Sala di Druso, first a papal audience room, then former King of Italy Umberto I’s bedroom; the Salottino Napoleonico, Napoleon’s toilette; the Biblioteca del Piffetti, an 18th-century library; the Passaggetto di Urbano VIII, a corridor decorated with 18th-century frescoes connecting the summer apartment of the Pope with the winter rooms; and the circular 16th-century staircase of the Mascherino.
Among the historical objects on display are royal baby prams, luxurious carriages for children, a collection of precious 19th-century ceramics, Queen Margherita’s silk ballroom dress from the 19th century embroidered in silver and crystals, and a dessert set said to belong to Umberto I.
The visit includes the magnificent gardens and ends at the papal stables, where more than 100 carriages are on display.
The visit is meant to provide a glimpse not only into a part of Italian history, but also to help better understand the functioning of one of Italy’s most important political institutions. "The Quirinal is a live, vital palace for our democracy, a protagonist today like it was yesterday of the country's history, and as such fully deserves the name of the home of Italians," a note by Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella says on the home page of the Quirinale Palace’s website.
You can find out more about the history of the Quirinale Palace here.
Advance reservations are mandatory and can be made online here. The shorter itinerary is free except for the reservation fee (€1.50), while the longer one costs €10. Note: The Quirinale Palace will be closed in August.