Rome—day 8 at Galleria Colonna

I had never been to Palazzo Colonna and was not even sure where it was. It turns out that I walked past it once already this trip and have seen it numerous time before without recognizing that the building was someone’s home, all be it a palace.

The entrance into the gallery area is off a great looking street.

It’s the largest private palace in Rome, it has a formal garden, multiple reception rooms and a grandiose baroque Great Hall built to honour Marcantonio II Colonna, a hero of the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. There are free guided tours In multiple languages. I started out with one in Italian but after having my own private art history teacher, this was too basic and boring. I wandered off on my own.

The Great Hall featured as the room where Audrey Hepburn had her press conference in front of Gregory Peck in the movie Roman Holiday.

Imagine having gardens outside your home in the centre of historic Rome.

The ceiling frescoes in the Great Hall, Hall of the Battle Column and Hall of the Landscapes are dedicated to Marcantonio II but are of minor artistic importance.

However, other salons house major works including Annibale Carracci’s remarkably modern-looking Mangiafagioli (The Bean Eater), which dates from 1580–90. Carracci painted the pretty and idealized Assumption of the Madonna that sits between the two Caravaggio’s in Santa Maria del Popolo. His Mangiafagioli is world’s away in difference—no idealizing here. This work is much more like Caravaggio in its naturalism and everyday subject.

This is one of those galleries that have maintained the old style of stacking paintings up to the top of the very high ceilings. Above Carracci’s work hangs Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid and a Satyr (1554).

There are works by Tintoretto, del Sarto and Veronese. And also a lot of not so great artists. No Caravaggio works here although documents suggest Caravaggio did paintings for Colonna family members, and the family may have helped him when he fled Rome after killing Ranuccio Tomassi.

So many paintings some get covered by the door

Since it was close by, I also went to Galleria Doria Pamphilj, where there are four Caravaggio’s.

Last time I was here there were just three works but now there’s a second young John the Baptist, a favourite subject of Caravaggio’s and this particular pose has at least three variations. The second John is annoyingly high on the wall and hard to inspect up close. Even if you were two feet taller than me, it would be too high.

The Galleria was rather empty.

No one else was looking at Velazquez’s portrait of Innocent X.

After, I wandered around looking at churches and shops. It started raining and I was near a wine shop (enoteca) which has a restaurant in back that Scott and I went to in 2018. This time I had lunch in the front part of the shop, not the restaurant, next to the shelves of wine.

I had a glass of Brunello di Montalcino with my lamb. I have never been in a place serving Brunello by the glass. I watched as the server took down and opened the bottle. Wish I knew other places like this, especially one closer to home.

Missed getting gelato yesterday. This one was cardamom, which was subtle and topped with caramel that was like the best salted caramels I’ve had in France. The little bowl got scraped clean.