Palazzo Venezia

Rome, Italy

Palazzo Venezia

The Palazzo Venezia (Italian: [paˈlattso veˈnɛttsja]), formerly Palace of St. Mark, is a palazzo (palace) in central Rome, Italy, just north of the Capitoline Hill. The original structure of this great architectural complex consisted of a modest medieval house intended as the residence of the cardinals appointed to the church of San Marco. In 1469 it became a residential papal palace, having undergone a massive extension, and in 1564, Pope Pius IV, to win the sympathies of the Republic of Venice, gave the mansion to the Venetian embassy to Rome on the terms that part of the building would be kept as a residence for the cardinals, the Apartment Cibo, and that the republic would provide for the building's maintenance and future restoration. The palace faces Piazza Venezia and Via del Plebiscito. It currently houses the National Museum of the Palazzo Venezia.

It took on a new layout in 1451, when owned by Cardinal Pietro Barbo, nephew of Pope Eugenius IV and the future Pope Paul II. It was a fortified building, composed of a half-basement and a mezzanine that functioned as a piano nobile, extending over a small area between the basilica and the gate of the present palazzo overlooking the piazza, with a small external tower. It was a building of no exceptional size but was sufficiently dignified as a cardinal's residence so that, even in 1455, Pietro Barbo could proudly boast of it, having a commemorative medal struck in its honor. In 1455, the building manifested some of the first Renaissance architectural features in Rome; although the overall aspect is of a massive, defensible medieval structure with battlemented crown.

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