The Quirinal Palace (in Italian Palazzo del Quirinale, or simply Quirinale) is a Renaissance palazzo on the Quirinal Hill in the Trevi district in Rome. Until recently, it could only be visited on Sunday mornings, now it is open five days a week. (Once a day, except in the month of August, the changing of the guards can be witnessed outside the Quirinale).
Quirinal Palace Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza del Quirinale – Rome (tel. +39 06 46991 gets you the switchboard, but for reservations you need to call +39 06 39967557). Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 09.30 till 16.30. Closed: Mondays, Thursdays, December 21 till January 8, June 2, August. Admission: There are two different tours. The first one costs 1,50 Euros, lasts more than an hour and includes the Piano Nobile and the ground floor. The second one costs 10 Euros (5 Euros for ages 65+ and 18 to 25; free for visitors younger than 25), lasts 2 1/2 hours and includes the first itinerary, plus the Vasella, the Gardens and the Coaches. Booking is mandatory and is also possible at the Info Point at the Salita di Montecavallo 15A. You need to be there 30 minutes before the tour starts. It is not allowed to make photographs. It is not allowed to bring water bottles, sharp objects or big bags with you.
Changing of the Guard
The changing of the guard at the Piazza del Quirinale can only be witnessed on Sundays. From October till June 2nd it takes place at 16.00 and from June 3rd till the end of September at 18.00 hours. During the rest of the week the ceremony takes place inside.
History and description
At the moment the Palazzo del Quirinale its the seat of the President of Italy, but it started its existence as the summer residence of Pope Gregory XIII, who had it constructed here (in 1573) to escape from the malaria, which was a big problem in the environment of the Vatican city area during the hottest months of the year.
The first Pope who actually lived in the Palazzo del Quirinale was Clemens VIII in 1592.
Before the palazzo was built, a villa stood on top of this, Rome’s highest, hill. This villa was owned first by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa and then by a son of Lucrezio Borgia, Ippolito d’Este.
It was not until around the year 1735 that the Quirinal Palace started to look the way we can admire it nowadays. Several architects, including Carlo Maderno and Gianlorenzo Bernini, contributed to the final result.
In the times of Napoleon two different Popes (Pius VI and Pius VII) were abducted from the Quirinal Palace by the French army. The palazzo stayed in French hands until Napoleon‘s defeat and the Pope was allowed to return (1814).
Until the end of the Papal State in 1870 the Quirinal Palace continued to function as the summer residence of the Popes, 22 of whom actually died and 4 of whom were elected there (in the Cappella Paolina).
In 1870, Rome became the Italian capital, the Quirinal was to be the Royal Palace and Pope Pius IX had to vacate the premises, which he did. He did the keys with him though, so the gates needed to be opened with crowbars.
The Italian Kings lived in the Quirinal until a referendum (2 June 1946) caused the abolishment of the monarchy and Italy became a Republic.
The Quirinal Palace then became the official residence of the President. From 1962 until 1978, the presidents actually lived there, but at present it only has a ceremonial function.