Palazzo Colonna, palace at the heart of Rome and pontifical seat for 11 years
In the heart of Rome lies one of the oldest and most historic palaces in all the city, Palazzo Colonna. The building is a baroque jewel constructed in 1600 and commissioned by Cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna.
This luxurious palace for 11 years was the home of Pope Martin V, otherwise known as Oddone Colonna. It was in these rooms that he granted his papal audiences.
"Pope Martin V decided to establish the Papal See here. He brought the Papal See back to Rome after a period of notable crisis, namely the Avignon period and the Western Schism. He was elected during the Council of Constance in 1417 and after several negotiations decided to return to Rome against the will of those who had elected him.”
Within these walls are hidden great moments and decisions that changed the course of history for the Eternal City. For example, the battle of Lepanto in which Christians forces, led by Mark Anthony Colonna himself, managed to put an end to the Ottoman Empire's naval ambitions and planned invasion of the Italian peninsula.
The Colonna family was and still is today, closely linked to the Catholic faith and the Vatican.
"They had 22 cardinals, 10 bishops and one pope. This pope was fundamental in shaping the history of Rome and of the Church in general.”
“The Colonna family also contributed to the faith by obtaining a very important relic. In the 13th century a member of the family, while on a military trip to the Holy Land, brought back the relics of the column where Jesus was scourged. It is still preserved in the chapel of St. Zenon in the ancient basilica of St. Praxedes in Rome".
The current descendants of the Colonna family still live in Rome. To this day, they bear the historical burden that comes with such a name. In addition, they and one other family still have the title of Papal Gentlemen.
"This entails assisting the pope in diplomatic relations and with the reception of illustrious guests. This title is still held by the Colonna family to this day". "The family is proud to have had this role for over 500 years. They are one of the few families that have maintained this continually without interruption." "It is a service that is done not only in the spotlight but also in humility and silence".
The beauty that floods this great palace, its extensive collection of works of art and its mirrors and ceilings with infinite detail came to inspire Louis XIV as he was constructing the great halls of Versailles.
Today, the essence of this palace remains steadfast, like a column, honoring the family name.