PIAZZA BARBERINI: ART, CULTURE AND HISTORY IN THE “DOLCE VITA” DISTRICT

THE SQUARE AND FOUNTAINS OF THE BERNINI

In the historical centre of Rome, at the crossroads of Via Vittorio Veneto, Via Sistina and Via del Tritone, there is the square that houses the famous fountain of the Triton, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1642 and 1643. The work, fed by the Felice aqueduct, was commissioned by the Pope Urban VIII, in order to decorate the public space in front of Palazzo Barberini and celebrate the splendor of the noble family of Tuscan origin. Made of travertine, the sculptural complex is composed of four dolphins with wide open jaws, which support a shell on which stands out the imposing mythological figure of the newt. Close to the square, at the corner with Via Veneto, is another wonderful work by Bernini: the Fountain of the Bees, built as a public drinking trough in 1644. This magnificent example of Baroque art consists of a large bivalve shell, which bears the heraldic symbol of the Barberini family.

BARBERINI PALACE AND ANCIENT ART

Palazzo Barberini was commissioned to the architect Carlo Maderno by Maffeo Barberini, ordained pontiff with the name of Urban VIII. The building works began in 1625 and finished in 1633, under the direction of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In 1949 the Italian State bought the palace to use it as the seat of the National Gallery of Ancient Art. The rich frescoed rooms house masterpieces by Caravaggio, Tintoretto, Lorenzo Lotto, Raffaello and Guido Reni. In the vault of the large central hall you can admire the triumph of Divine Providence, the monumental fresco in Baroque style by Pietro da Cortona. The museum, which can be accessed from via delle Quattro Fontane, can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30am to 7.00pm, with admission until 6.00pm (www.galleriabarberini.beniculturali.it).

THE COMPLEX OF THE FOUR FOUNTAINS

Near Piazza Barberini stands the fascinating Complex of the Four Fountains, commissioned by Pope Sixtus V to highlight the crossroads that connected the ancient Pia street, where today rise via XX Settembre and via del Quirinale, to the Felice street, home of today's Via delle Quattro Fontane and via Sistina. The crossroads, decorated with four imposing fountains on the wall representing two river gods and two female figures identified with Diana and Juno, joined the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme with the Trinità dei Monti (www.sovraintendenzaroma.it). ). Next to the crossroads is the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture built in the 17th century by Francesco Borromini. The church is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m., and on Sundays from 12.00 p.m. to 1.00 p.m. (www.sancarlino.eu).

THE PALACE OF THE QUIRINALE

The Quirinale Palace, whose construction began in 1583, was the summer residence of the popes from the pontificate of Paul V Borghese. In 1870 it became the residence of the King of Italy and since 1946 it has housed the apartments of the President of the Republic. With its 110 thousand square meters and 1,200 rooms is one of the six most impressive buildings in the world. The construction and the rich decorations were worked by masters of Italian art such as Pietro da Cortona, Domenico Fontana, Carlo Maderno and Guido Reni. The structure can be visited, except institutional impediments, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with variable times depending on the chosen route. The free route, except for the obligatory booking of € 1.50, includes a visit to the ground floor and the main floor, which includes the Tapestry Room, the Hall of Mirrors and the Salon of Celebrations. The artistic-institutional and thematic itinerary, which costs € 10.00 including the booking service, also includes the gardens, the Carriage Museum and the Vasella, which exhibits services by Richard Ginori, Meissen porcelain and eastern porcelain from the Savoy region (www.palazzo.quirinale.it).