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Galleria Spada, Rome

3.6
#31 of 150 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.The MuseumMuseum 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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  • Is the perfect time to visit this galleria as it is free to all. This very beautiful ornate palazzo houses some absolutely stunning art, not a big exhibit however quality beats quantity every time. Al...  more »
  • I visited the Spada Gallery with my girlfriend this past Sunday. Being the first Sunday, admission was free. We hopped right on the first floor and found a collection of paintings of the ' 600 really very interesting. For sure we will come back another day of the week to appreciate it with more peace of mind since that day there was a lot of people. ...
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  • The Gallery is very interesting no doubt. Leave enough to wish for the Organization of the visit and the arrangement of the works sometimes or often difficult to achieve with the look and dimly lit. Very uncomfortable even identify as indicated by numbers discoverable in a catalog supplied on site but only with the title of the work and the author. There is no possibility of guided tour with audioguide ... Wonderful Borromini's perspective ... Shame about the rest ...
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  • Don't miss this jewel of the Italian Baroque in Rome. The Spada put together a very peculiar arts collection which is still on exhibit today as it was 400 years ago. Discover the trompe-l'oeuil created by Borromini.
  • 4 halls nicely hung and lit with plenty of priceless masters work. Nice!
  • The gallery is nice and has beautiful rooms and pictures (you need tickets) but you dont have to go there. The "false perspective" must be visited inside the yard (it is free of charges).
  • My take on the Galleria Spada, or Palazzo Spada, has no basis in any historical facts. But like any compelling fiction it holds some kind of fundamental truth within it. So let's go with it: There were a bunch of really rich, powerful guys in Rome. They all knew each other. And they built (or modified) their fabulous Palazzi. They had loads of ready Catholic cash, and they also had really terrific taste. They decorated spectacularly. And so today we can go visit their many amazing palaces: Barberini, Borghese, Farnese, Altemps, and so on. On the other hand there was Cardinal Spada. He wasn't quite as rich as all the other guys. And he didn't have as good taste either. But he really wanted to be one of them. So he did his best, in a desperate, pathetic sort of way. And all the big shots humored him. There's Cardinal Spada now, buying a painting by a big name artist. It's the cheapest one he can find, and it's not that good. "Look everyone." He cries. "I got a Durer! I got a Titian!" "Er, is that a real Titian?" "The guy said it was, and it was on sale!" Cardinal Spada is so excited he throws a party for his rich friends to celebrate. The food's not that good and it's skimpy. The wine tastes funny. He can't afford quite enough servants. But Cardinal Spada is so proud, and eager, and awkward. Go to the other Palazzi and see a short list at each of them of great paintings by genius painters. But because there are only so many of those around they fill their wall space out with the best paintings by slightly less famous and brilliant artists, and then they round that all out with curiosities, and paintings along themes, or of particular interest to them. Not Cardinal Spada. He buys blind, by name, whatever is on sale. He buys in bulk. Then he hires Borromini to do some work on the place. Wait, Borromini! Greatest architect in the world? Yes, he has him do a cut rate bargain basement illusion out in the garden. It's... cute. But I picture Cardinal Spada at pains to bring it up at every social gathering: "Yeah, just having Borromini do a little work around the Palazzo." Or "Great to get away to this party. My Palazzo is so dusty what with all that architectural work Borromini is doing around the place!" So, you may wonder, is Galleria Spada worth a visit? Yes!!! It's not too expensive, maybe 5 euros. I love its handy location in the heart of things, near Campo de Fiori. It's pretty quiet in there too, which is never a bad thing in Rome. The paintings can surprise you by how uninteresting they are, which is no small trick when you've got work by such notable artists. But you can just sort of blaze through the opulent, though by no means terribly interesting halls, and get to the little garden courtyard. "Hey! Isn't the Borromini out here?" "It is! That's what everyone comes here to see." "Is that it over there?" "Yes it is." It's surprisingly unimpressive, isn't it? "Well, he was probably working with a pretty tight budget." "Disappointing, the pictures I saw on the Internet made it look more interesting somehow." "Yeah, it's not much to speak of." "Hey. It's really nice out here though. Look, a cat." "I see it. She's a very friendly cat." "Are these lime trees?" "Maybe. It smells so good out here, doesn't it?" "Yes, it does."
  • Small an nice art gallery.

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