Palazzo Altemps at the Museo Nazionale Romano

Ciao and welcome to my article about Palazzo Altemps at the Museo Nazionale Romano! I’m excited to share my personal insights and experiences as someone who has spent their entire youth in Rome. The Blog serie “Secrets of Rome” will guide you through hidden gems beyond the usual tourist spots. In particular, I want to share all the best things I discovered and visited during my whole life in Rome.

In fact, in this Blog section you will find hidden spots and not touristic places all around Rome, that you absolutely have to visit during your long stay in Rome. Before writing these type of articles, I visited hidden gems in Rome to create the most complete guide about them. So, I don’t want you waste more time, because I am really excited to let you know more about one of the best hidden gem in Rome: Palazzo Altemps at the Museo Nazionale Romano. So, let’s jump right in!

Palazzo Altemps in rome
statues in Palazzo Altemps

Why I Love Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Altemps, nestled in the heart of Rome near Piazza Navona, is a true hidden gem. Having grown up in this city, I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself in its rich history and art. Palazzo Altemps, with its Renaissance origins, offers a unique journey through time, showcasing centuries of artistic brilliance. What sets Palazzo Altemps apart is its majestic architecture and diverse art collections. As someone who knows the ins and outs of the Campo Marzio district, I can attest to the unparalleled beauty found within its lavishly adorned halls. It’s not just a museum; it’s a portal into the life and artistry of ancient Rome.

The Fascinating History Behind Palazzo Altemps

Constructed in the 16th century during the Renaissance, Palazzo Altemps has witnessed the changing hands of noble families and influential figures. From Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps to various Popes, each owner has left an indelible mark. In 1997, Palazzo Altemps officially became a national museum, a testament to the dedication of experts preserving Rome’s artistic heritage.

The Secrets Behind Palazzo Altemps

Legend has it that Palazzo Altemps conceals hidden passages, known only to a select few. These clandestine routes, veiled from the eyes of casual visitors, were once frequented by the aristocracy, clandestine lovers, and enigmatic figures of Roman high society. As you traverse the grand halls and explore the intricate rooms, imagine the palace unfolding its secrets, revealing the echoes of centuries-old whispers that linger in the air.

Uncover the forgotten stories of illicit romances, political intrigues, and clandestine meetings that unfolded within the very walls of Palazzo Altemps. The hushed narratives of clandestine affairs and clandestine dealings add a layer of mystery to this opulent palace, transforming it into a living, breathing time capsule waiting to be explored.

Must-See Spots at Palazzo Altemps: My Personal Favorites

I had the opportunity to discover Palazzo Altemps at Museo Nazionale Romano during one of my weekends spent all around Rome, looking for hidden gems. I didn’t find many information about it online, so I didn’t know what to expect by this visit. And for that reason, I decided to visit it. Well, after entering into its courtyard, I felt speechlees. I had never thought that it would be something so stunning near Piazza Navona!

Within its chambers lies a collection of rare artifacts and forgotten treasures, curated over centuries. From ancient manuscripts to peculiar artifacts, each item has a story to tell. What makes this hidden gem even more intriguing is the uncharted territory of its underground passages, believed to stretch beneath the city, connecting Palazzo Altemps to other historical landmarks.

But what are the most beautiful things that you absolutely have to visit in Palazzo Altemps at Museo Nazionale Romano?

Palazzo Altemps
Palazzo Altemps in rome

The Beautiful Entrance Courtyard

My journey at Palazzo Altemps always begins in the entrance courtyard. The Italian Renaissance style, with its well-proportioned design and classical elements, never fails to transport me to a bygone era. This hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Rome, welcomes you with open arms, inviting you to embark on a journey through time.

As you cross the threshold, the Italian Renaissance style unfolds before your eyes, a symphony of balanced design and classical elegance. The courtyard, adorned with sculpted columns and intricate details, resonates with the artistic virtuosity of the bygone era. The symmetrical structure and meticulous attention to detail make it a haven of architectural charm.

At the heart of this courtyard, a collection of statues depicting Roman deities stands as silent guardians, whispering tales of ancient history. These skillfully crafted sculptures contribute to an ambiance steeped in the richness of Rome’s past. The backdrop of decorated columns, with their intricate capitals and Corinthian charm, adds a classical touch, creating a harmonious blend of art and architecture.

A central fountain graces the courtyard, injecting an element of freshness and movement. The aquatic sculptures within this fountain serve as a focal point, while the soothing sound of water offers a moment of tranquility amid the historical splendor.

Palazzo Altemps
Palazzo Altemps in Rome

Exploring the Interior Galleries

Moving beyond the courtyard, I lead you to the interior halls, each a chapter in the history of Roman art. From the Hall of Aphrodite Cnidia to the Hall of the Emperors, you’ll encounter sculptures by eminent artists that continue to captivate.

The Hall of Aphrodite Cnidia welcomes you with the timeless beauty of ancient sculpture. As you wander, the Hall of Athena Algardi unfolds, revealing the strength and wisdom embodied in marble. The Hall of Sarcophagi unveils stories etched in stone, capturing moments of Roman life and beliefs.

Continue your exploration to the Hall of the Emperors, where the echoes of imperial grandeur resonate. Marvel at the intricate details of each sculpture, as if the artists themselves are guiding you through the annals of time. These interior galleries are not mere spaces; they are chapters in the narrative of Rome’s artistic legacy. Take your time to scrutinize the details—it’s a gift to yourself.

Palazzo Altemps
Palazzo Altemps in rome

The Enchanting Painted Loggia

One of the most photographed sections, the Painted Loggia, is a narrow corridor adorned with frescoes by Antonio Viviani. As I walk through, scenes inspired by nature unfold around me. It’s a masterpiece with its painted garden, complete with plants, flowers, vines, birds, and animals. An enchanting experience that leaves an everlasting impression.

As you traverse the corridors, the Painted Loggia unfolds like a magical tapestry, adorned with vibrant frescoes by Antonio Viviani. Created in 1595 at the request of Cardinal Altemps, these paintings transform the loggia into a captivating haven. The corridor, surrounded by graceful arches, offers a unique perspective, overlooking the inner courtyard.

Immerse yourself in the illusion of a magical garden, as the frescoes depict scenes inspired by nature. Vines climb wooden trellises, colorful birds take flight, and a symphony of animals graces the artwork. The meticulous details and imaginative elements make the Painted Loggia a true testament to artistic brilliance.

Palazzo Altemps in rome
Palazzo Altemps in rome

A Visit to the Church of Sant’Aniceto

Stepping outside the museum, I guide you to the Church of Sant’Aniceto. Despite its opulence and historical significance, it remains relatively unknown. Legend has it that Maria Altemps, daughter of the church’s founder, married the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio here in 1851.

Constructed between 1603 and 1617 by Duke Giovanni Angelo Altemps, this church is not just a place of worship; it’s a living testament to the intertwining stories of art, faith, and romance. Bearing witness to the marriage of Maria Altemps and the renowned poet Gabriele d’Annunzio in 1851, the church whispers tales of love against the backdrop of its richly adorned interior. Paintings by Pomarancio depict the life of Sant’Aniceto, the early pope, while also weaving in symbolic representations of the Altemps family history.

This church, often overlooked by many, stands as a repository of hidden narratives, waiting to be discovered by those who venture beyond the well-trodden paths. As you step into the Church of Sant’Aniceto, you not only enter a sacred space but also immerse yourself in the captivating stories of its patrons, the Altemps family, and the celebrated poet who found love within its hallowed halls.

Palazzo Altemps statues
Palazzo Altemps sculptures

Unveiling the Stunning Sculptures at Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Altemps is not just a palace; it’s a treasury of extraordinary sculptures. I’ll highlight a few favorites: the serene “Ludovisi Ares” statue, the realistic “Head of Cleopatra,” the intricate “Mattei Sarcophagus,” and the captivating “Apollo of Piombino.”

Among the notable sculptures, the “Ludovisi Ares” commands attention, freezing the god of war in a moment of serene repose after battle. The craftsmanship reveals a quiet power and serene beauty, showcasing the artist’s mastery in detailing the armor and capturing the god’s pose.

Equally captivating is the “Head of Cleopatra,” a mesmerizing portrayal of the Queen of Egypt. The sculpture’s realism immortalizes Cleopatra’s elegance and strength, her intense gaze and flawless features making it an unforgettable masterpiece.

Venturing further, you encounter the “Mattei Sarcophagus,” a splendid specimen of Roman funerary art. Dating back to the 2nd century AD, its sculptures narrate tales of battle, religious rites, and portraits of the deceased—a precious glimpse into ancient Roman life and beliefs.

The “Apollo of Piombino” graces Palazzo Altemps with classical grace. Depicting the Greek god Apollo, this sculpture embodies physical perfection, making it a highlight of the museum.

Palazzo Altemps in Rome
Palazzo Altemps rome

Palazzo Altemps Operating Hours

Typically, Palazzo Altemps is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 to 19:45. Keep an eye out for any special events or holiday closures. For a seamless visit, consider pre-purchasing tickets online to skip the queues. If you’re eager to delve deeper, opt for the audio guide or a guided tour for an enhanced experience.

Palazzo Altemps statues
Palazzo Altemps in rome

Palazzo Altemps: Tell Me Your Experience!

Our virtual journey to Palazzo Altemps comes to an end. I hope that this Guide will help you insert some hidden gem in your itinerary to discover Rome. Lose yourself in the artworks, absorb the essence of centuries, and let history transform into a masterpiece. If you’re a tourist planning your trip to Rome, explore my Free Guides about Italy and Rome:

I hope that this Free Guide will help you organize your next trip to Italy without getting crazy! If you need a tailor-made itinerary, send me an email to I will be happy to help you! Feel free to share your thoughts—I’m here to make your Italian adventure unforgettable!


Marianna, Your Italian Friend

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