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Piazza and Palazzo Farnese

One of the most important palaces of the High Renaissance, once home to Pope Paul III and currently the French Embassy.

TravelCurious Tip

Walk around the side streets near the Palazzo and Campo de' Fiori and see how many times you can spot the Farnese name - it's everywhere!

Pope Paul's Palazzo

Just behind the bustling Campo de' Fiori is the Piazza Farnese, where you will find the enormous Palazzo of the same name. Farnese was the name of the family of Pope Paul III, who was born Alessandro Farnese before becoming a cardinal under the Borgia Papacy (and who did very well for himself indeed).

The Palazzo was built for the family in 1517 during the High Renaissance, and is considered one of the most important palaces of the era to be found in all of Italy. Alessandro ordered elaborate expansion and redesign to the palace he when became Pope in 1534. He commissioned the venerable Michelangelo, who restyled the third floor and the courtyard. The interior is full of stunning frescoed rooms depicting classical scenes, such as the Hercules room and the famous Gallery with 'The Loves of the Gods' by Annibale Carracci, an extremely important Renaissance fresco.

House of learning

Pope Paul III was a lover of classical art and myth, and stocked the palace with his vast collection of Greco-Roman sculptures. It also houses a large scholarly library. The design of the building has been copied around the world, notably by the National Building Museum of Washington DC and the Royal Palace in Stockholm. 
In 1936 it was leased to the French government for €1 a year for a period of 99 years, and today it serves as their embassy in Italy. If you visit the courtyard today you will see the magnificent façade by Michelangelo as well as two large granite fountains, which are actually basins taken from the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Campo De' Fiori
Host to a daily fruit and vegetable market, this square is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Rome.
Villa Farnesina
A gorgeous Renaissance building, with some amazing artwork and lovely gardens.
Italian Cookies
A typical Italian sweet originally cooked by 'La Nonna' to share with the family that can be found in any Italian bakery. There are more than 10 varieties of cookies to taste.
Homemade meatballs
A classic Italian dish that can be made of different kinds of meat such as beef or pork, usually accompanied with pasta and tomato sauce.
Cook with a 'nonna'
Nonna is the Italian word for grandmother, and she is the soul of every Italian family.
Roman style pizza
Roman pizza is distinguished from the thick Neopolitan pizza by its thin, light and crispy base which is slightly charred at the edges.

Related Tours

The Heart of Rome Private tour: Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
Enjoy a private walking tour in the Heart of Rome, where your private guide will introduce you to the city’s Ancient Roman history and baroque architecture while showing you the Eternal City's major landmarks. On your private walking tour, you will: 

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a private tour guide
  • See the major highlights in Rome city centre in just 3 hours
  • Stop for a delicious Gelato on us!
  • See Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori and Ponte Sisto!
  • Step inside the over 2000 years old Pantheon – one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman buildings in existence.
  • Make a wish at the stunning Trevi Fountain and learn about the various myths behind the coins in the fountain. 
  • Climb the 135 steps of the magnificent Spanish Steps (if you wish) that lead to the beautiful Trinita Dei Monti Church.
  • Get orientated in the city, and get tips from your guide on where to eat and drink
  • Please note: This tour can run day or night. The night tour is very romantic but could also be ghostly! Either way, simply book an evening departure and let your guide know on the day of the tour the type of stories you wish to hear.

Sure, you have heard the phrase ‘Rome was not built in a day, but to truly understand that, one must walk the city with an expert to show you the layers of ancient civilization and ruins piled into the now-modern city. Often called the “Eternal City”, Rome is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally rich cities in the world. In the heart of Rome, you’ll come across the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona – two landmarks that date back to the Roman Empire; in addition, you’ll have the opportunity to see amazing architecture like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps from the Rococo (late-Baroque) period. 

This three-hour walking tour is designed to give you the perfect overview of the city, as it includes some of the most beautiful attractions in the historic centre. This tour of the heart of Rome– more than any other, mixes the ancient with the late Baroque in a way that only Rome could. It is a great introduction to the magic in Rome. 

Please note that the Pantheon and other religious sites might be closed during the evening tours. In this case, your guide will provide you with information from the outside.
The Heart Of Rome: Family Friendly Private Tour
Enjoy a beautiful city stroll through the historic centre of Rome, where your private guide will introduce you and your kids to the beautiful Eternal City with plenty of stories to both educate and entertain. On your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the personal attention of a private tour guide who will keep the whole family engaged, interested, and entertained. 
  • Starting at the beautiful Piazza del Popolo, see the major highlights of Rome’s city centre in just 3 hours.
  • Stop for a delicious local Gelato on us!
  • Pose like Audrey Hepburn on the magnificent Spanish Steps. 
  • Throw a coin and make a wish at the stunning Trevi Fountain.
  • Step inside the mighty Pantheon – the 2000-year-old temple to all the gods. Peer into the heavens through its miraculous oculus!
  • Learn about the bathing and toilet habits of the Ancient Romans.
  • Hear how Rome was built layer upon layer – just like a giant lasagna.
  • See the beautiful baroque piazzas and learn about the secret insults between the rival artists, Bernini and Borromini, hidden in the statues and architecture. 
  • Guess which fountain is which at Piazza Navona – your guide will give you clues!
  • Walk to Largo Argentina and see the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by his friends. 
  • Enjoy the sprightly atmosphere of Campo Dei Fiori, before learning about the grim torture and burning at the stake endured by the man whose statue stands in the middle of the square, Giordano Bruno.
  • Walk across the ancient Ponte Sisto – enjoy lovely views along the Tiber River, and the buskers on the bridge, and learn some of the murky secrets of the not-so-raging river! 
  • End your tour at the buzzing Piazza Trilussa in the heart of Trastevere – and close to lots of great pizzerias, gelaterias, cafes and bars. 

You may have heard the phrase ‘Rome was not built in a day, and to truly understand that, strolling through the historic centre with an expert guide – really helps to bring this ancient city to life. Let your guide help your kids understand the full breadth of history, with stories from the ancient world. At the Pantheon, learn how the Romans worshipped, took a bath and went to the toilet! At the eerie ruins of the theatres at Largo Argentina hear about the brutal assassination of Julius Caesar, on the very spot on which it happened. (It is now the Roman cat sanctuary – how are the mighty fallen!) At Piazza Navona, see how this beautiful Baroque space was built on top of an ancient stadium for horse racing. 'The lasagna effect'. See the marker that shows just how high the seemingly harmless Tiber river can flood. 

Take a break at the Trevi Fountain to throw in your coins and make a wish – then let your guide breathe life into the characters sculpted on the fountains, mighty Neptune, Lady Cornucopia – and see if you can spot a fake window!  There are so many secrets and stories behind every monument, piazza, church, and stone. Like naughty jokes hidden in the sculptures by Bernini at Piazza Navona – and his elephant next to the Pantheon. 

This three-hour walking tour is designed to give you and the family the perfect overview of the city. Combined with delicious gelato, it is a great introduction to the magic in Rome. 

Please note that the Pantheon and other religious sites might be closed in the evening tours. In this case, your guide will provide you with information from the outside.
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