Palazzo Torlonia Giraud Rome
Address and opening hours
The address of the Palazzo Torlonia Giraud is Via della Conciliazione 30 – Rome. Bus: 23, 34, 40 62, 280, 982, N11. Rione: Borgo. The buidling is not open for tourists.
History and description
The Palazzo Torlonia is a smaller version of the Palazzo della Cancelleria. Because of its likeness many people think it was designed by Andrea Bregno. However, Vasari claims it was Bramante‘ s work.
Originally the Palazzo Torlonia Giraud was called the Palazzo Castellesi.
It was Cardinal Castellesi who, in 1496, started construction of the building. The cardinal had become wealthy exploiting the English dioceses of Bath and Wells, given to him by his friend Henry VII. In 1505, when construction had not even been completed yet, the cardinal came to be without money. He gave the palace to Henry VII, who turned it into the residency of the English Ambassador.
It was also Henry VII who commissioned Polidoro da Caravaggio to paint the wall frescoes.
When Henry VIII was crowned king a schism took place and the Palazzo was confiscated by the Holy See. It then became property of the Borghese family.
In 1720 the building came into ownership of count Giraud and one century after that it was acquired by the French Tourian family. This family had become rich by providing Napoleon’s troops with food during his occuption of Rome. The name Tourian was later Italianised and became Torlonia.
Giovanni Torlonia restored the building and also made it taller. As a result the frescoes that used to adorn the facade were lost. The entrance in the Via dei Corridori has inscription dedicated to Giovanni.
The main entrance was designed by Antonio Valeri in the 18th century. The coat of arms above this gate is that of the Torlonia.
The design of the courtyard is ascribed to Raphael. It is framed by a portico and adorned with statues and bas reliefs. Two big marble 19th century fountains adorned with bas reliefs are place against the back wall.
In the 17th century the back of the building was connected to the Passetto del Borgo by means of a small wooden bridge. It is still possible to see where this bridge was connected to the wall.