The Palazzo Bernini is situated opposite the Sant’Andrea delle Fratte Church in Rome and used to be owned by the famous sculptor and architect himself.
Palazzo Bernini Rome
Address: Via della Mercede, 11-12 – Roma. The building is not open to tourists.
History and Description
Originally what is now known as the Palazzo Bernini was owned by the marquise Fulvia Naro, who sold it in 1641 to Gian Lorenzo’s father, Piero.
The palazzo consists of two 17th century buildings that were joined together by Bernini himself. The artist himself lived in part of number 11A, while he rented out or used the rest of this building and all of number 12 as a studio.
A beautiful story related to the building concerns the eternal enmity between Bernini and Borromini. When the latter was commissioned to build the Propaganda Fide complex (opposite Palazzo Bernini) he had his masons put two large donkey ears on the building. Bernini responded by having a large brick penis attached to the wall opposite the ears. Later, unfortunately, both “embellishments” had to be removed.
Bernini’s bust and the plaque with his name (which also says that died in the building) attached to number 12 are actually hanging on the wrong part of the building.
In a niche in the atrium of number 12 is the Fontana dell’Estate (“Fountain of Summer”).
The building itself contains multiple works of art (including a fresco depicting Zeus visiting the forge of the God Vulcano, a painting depicting Bernini receiving the keys to Lyon on his visit to that city in 1665, and one depicting Bernini kneeling at the feet of Pope Urban VIII), none of which, however, can be attributed with certainty to the man himself or any other artist.
In 1830, the Scottish novelist Walter Scott lived in the building for a while.
Other addresses where Bernini once lived are the Via Liberiana, 24 (near the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore), and Via Borgognona, 47. The latter building is known as the Palazzo Bernini Manfroni.