The prestigious Palazzo Chigi is a well-preserved baroque residence in the central square of the city of Ariccia in the Alban Hills near Rome. It is not to be confused with the Palazzo Chigi in Rome itself.
Palazzo Chigi Ariccia
History and description
It is named after the family that commissioned its construction, the Chigi‘s, who were extremely powerful and one of the dynasties that produced a considerable number of Popes.
The Chigi Palace, which was constructed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (with the help of Carlo Fontana), nowadays houses a museum hosting many exhibitions and also organizing concerts, guided tours, etc. There have been hardly any changes to the building since the day it was constructed and most of the furnishings also are still the same as they were more than 4 centuries ago.
The works of art that can be seen in the museum were mostly taken from the Palazzo Chigi in Rome, sold by the family to the Italian State in 1918.
The Palazzo Chigi was donated to the city of Ariccia in 1988, by Prince Agostino Chigi Albani della Rovere.
Several scenes of the film Il Gattopardo by Luchino Visconti were filmed in the Palazzo Chigi.
The palace has an immense (28 hectares) 16th century park attached to it, containing, apart from an impressive variety of plants and trees, fountains and several archeological ruins, including those of the “nemus aricinum“, which was consecrated to the Goddess Diana.
Originally the park was meant to be a “barco“, or an area for hunting, but later it was developed into a garden, with contributions by Bernini and Fontana, including the Piazza del Mascherone (“Square of the Big Mask”), the Snow Cave and the Fountains of the Mask.
Other features include the Aviary, which hails from 1628 and was constructed by the Savelli‘s, and a monument that was taken from the Appian Way and rebuilt here in 1997.
Opening hours Chigi Palace and Park
Not the entire Palazzo Chigi is open to the public. The Piano Nobile (second floor) can be visited every day except Monday and guided tours are given at 11 AM, 4 PM and 5.30 PM during the week and at 10.30 AM, 11.30 AM, 12.30 PM and 4, 5, 6 and 7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. In the winter (October 1, March 31) the weekend 7 PM is replaced by a 3 PM tour.
TheÂ Rooms of the Cardinal Flavio Chigi (main floor) and the exhibit areas of the Baroque Museum are open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only. The hours are 10 AM until 12.30 PM and 4 PM until 7 PM (3 PM until 6 PM in the winter).