Palazzo Venezia

Ancient Rome

Built between 1455 and 1464, Palazzo Venezia was the first of Rome's great Renaissance palaces. For centuries it was the embassy of the Venetian Republic – hence its name – but it's most readily associated with Mussolini, who had his office here and famously made speeches from the balcony of the Sala del Mappamondo (Globe Room). Nowadays, it's home to the Museo Nazionale del Palazzo Venezia and its eclectic collection of Byzantine and early Renaissance paintings, ceramics, bronze figures, weaponry and armour.

Despite the museum's exhibits, the palazzo itself is the main draw. Particularly dramatic are the halls of the Apartamento Barbo, the original core of the palace built in the 15th century for the Venetian cardinal Pietro Barbo and now used to stage temporary exhibitions. Outside, a monumental two-tiered cloister, home to the museum's lapidarium, is another striking feature.

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