Palazzo Farnese is one of the most majestic Renaissance palaces in Rome, built with the collaboration of architects including Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Michelangelo and frescoed by Carracci and other 16th-century artists. Originally residence of the noble Farnese family, the palace is now seat of the French embassy.
Alessandro Farnese commissioned Palazzo Farnese in the 16th century, and the building was expanded to its current size after he became Pope Paul III in 1534, with adornments like Michelangelo’s ornate central window that served as the facade’s focal point and dramatic backdrop for the pope’s public appearances overlooking Piazza Farnese. Today visitors can admire the palazzo’s ornate interiors including Sangallo’s atrium, the Carracci Gallery, and the Hercules salon with tapestries inspired by Raffaello’s frescos, and the courtyard and garden.
Palace visits are only by guided tour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and must be booked at least a week ahead of time. View the palace from the outside on a walking, e-bike, or Vespa Rome highlights tour that includes sights such as the Quirinale Palace, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, and the Spanish Steps. Sightseeing tours can easily be combined with skip-the-line tickets to the Colosseum and Vatican Museums.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Palace visits require a security check and each visitor must carry a valid ID that matches the name on the reservation.
- Children under 10 are not allowed.
- The palace is not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Photography and filming are prohibited during the tour.
How to Get There
Palazzo Farnese is located on Piazza Farnese in Rome’s historic center, an easy walk from the busy Largo di Torre Argentina, where a number of city buses stop.
When to Get There
The palace is only open to the public for guided tours booked in advance. To view the palace from the outside, stroll through Piazza Farnese in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is particularly pretty, or at night when the palace is dramatically lit.
The Farnese Family Legacy
The Farnese family was one of the most influential in Rome during the Renaissance and included a number of dukes as well as a pope. In addition to its political and economic power, the family was famous for its extensive sculpture collection, known as the “Farnese Marbles,” portions of which are housed in Naples in the National Archaeological Museum and the Capodimonte Museum.