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Galleria Spada, Rome

3.8
#29 of 162 in Museums in Rome
The Galleria Spada is a museum in Rome (Italy), which is housed in the Palazzo Spada of the same name, located in the Piazza Capo di Ferro. The palazzo is also famous for its façade and for the forced perspective gallery by Francesco Borromini.
The gallery exhibits paintings from the 16th and 17th century.
Museum Cabe-Cabean "CI." A State Museum, the Galleria Spada's run by the Polo Museale del Lazio.
Hours of OperationThe Museum hours of operation are as follows: Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
HistoryIt was originally built in 1540 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro. Bartolomeo Baronino, of Casale Monferrato, was the architect, while Giulio Mazzoni and a team provided lavish stuccowork inside and out. The palazzo was purchased by Cardinal Spada in 1632. He commissioned the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini to modify it for him, and it was Borromini who created the masterpiece of forced perspective optical illusion in the arcaded courtyard, in which diminishing rows of columns and a rising floor create the visual illusion of a gallery 37 meters long (it is 8 meters) with a lifesize sculpture at the end of the vista, in daylight beyond: the sculpture is 60 cm high. Borromini was aided in his perspective trick by a mathematician. The building was purchased in November 1926 by the Italian State to house the gallery and the State Council. The Galleria was opened in 1927 in the Palazzo Spada. It closed during the 1940s, but reopened in 1951 thanks to the efforts of the Conservator of the Galleries of Rome, Anchille Bertini Calosso and the Director, Frederico Zeri. Zeri was committed to locating the remaining artwork that had been scattered during the war, as he intended to recreate the original layout of the 16th-17th version of the gallery, including the placement of the pictures, the furniture and the sculptures. Most of the exhibited artwork comes predominantly from the private collection of Bernardino Spada, supplemented by smaller collections such as that of Virgilio Spada.
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Galleria Spada Reviews
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333 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This is really good value for Rome at only five Euros. It is quite small but there are a couple of hundred paintings. Nice for an hour. No crowds either which is a big plus.  more »
  • The highlight of the visit is obviously the perspective, of Borromini, a masterpiece of ingenuity, as its promoter said life is an illusion, and it was brilliantly realized. the rooms on the first floor, have some beautiful paintings, but essential for the gallery.
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  • Small museum worth seeing! Famous for the wonderful perspective gallery in the secret garden, it collects in four rooms more than 150 works. Extremely prepared and kind staff, paper guides available free of charge inside the museum.
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Google
  • We enjoyed strolling around this small, quiet gallery. There are only four rooms, originally a house, but the house itself is interesting and there are loads of paintings, sculptures and ornate furniture to see. There are printed guides in several languages available in the first room, to explain a bit about each artwork. Lastly, in the garden, there’s Borromini’s Perspective, a Baroque perspective illusion. We also encountered a glorious fat cat sunning himself in a bed of clover, who was only too happy for some fussing. The artworks were great but the fat cat was the best part.
  • A small and modest gallery in comparison to the other great galleries of Rome. For me, Borromini's perspective arch in the garden was a highlight. For a small entry fee of 5 euro, this gallery is well worth a one hour visit.
  • Small gallery in the palace of Spada/who was a Cardinal/. Nice paintings and a very interesting perspective colonnade by Borromini.
  • Nice gallery, but the most interesting part is in the garden. The staff was nice and polite. The price of the exhibition was correct, 5 euro per person
  • The Spada Gallery is a beautiful old palace containing a small (by Rome standards) collection of artworks. It is nice to see, but most visitors come for the Borromini Perspective - a 17th century optical illusion where a statue at the end of a row of columns appears much larger than it really is. Worth a look.
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