The Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome stands on the corner of the Piazza Venezia and the Via del Corso, the city’s most famous shopping street. It is called thus because Napoleon‘s mother lived here from 1818 until her death in 1836. From October 2019, part of the palace has been used as an exhibition space. The first exhibition was devoted to impressionist painters.
Palazzo Bonaparte Rome
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
The address of the Palazzo Bonaparte is Via del Corso (Rione: Pigna). Bus: 40, 64. Unfortunately at the moment the building can only be seen from the outside.
History and description
The original name of the building is Palazzo D’Aste Rinuccini. Nowadays it is actually called Palazzo Misciatelli, but since everyone still calls it Palazzo Bonaparte it is better to use this name.
The palace was built by the architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi. The building was commissioned by the Marquises Giuseppe and Benedetto D’Aste. Construction lasted from 1657 to 1677.
JIn 1760 the Palazzo was bought by the Marquis Rinuccini. It remained in the hands of his family until, 1818, when the French Cardinal Joseph Fesch bought it for his half-sister Maria Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte, who had been banned from France. She lived in the palace until her death, in 1836.
In 1905 it came into the hands of the Misciatelli family and since 1972 it has been the property of the insurance company AssItalia.
According to tradition, Napoleon‘s mother, after losing her eyesight, often sat on the balcony. Her companion used to describe what was going on in Piazza Venezia.
The Palazzo Bonaparte has one facade on Via del Corso and one on Piazza Venezia itself. The balcony on the corner is not present on early sketches of the building and is therefore a later addition.
The eagle that adorns the piano nobile belongs to the coat of arms of the Bonaparte‘s. The tympanums above this piano nobile are vaulted, while those on the second floor are triangular.
The facade on the Via del Corso side looks the same, but is longer and has 9 instead of 5 windows.
The alley around the Palazzo Bonaparte is called Vicolo Doria. On this side there is a courtyard that allows sunlight to reach the atrium.
What to see
A plaster copy of Antonio Canova‘s “Mars the Peacemaker” is visible on the main floor. The original is Apsley House, where the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo used to live.
For lovers of the French Emperor: Rome also has a small museum dedicated to Napoleon.