Palace of the Chancellery

Palazzo della Cancelleria

Palazzo della Cancelleria was built in 1513 for the cardinal Raffaele Riario, nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. It is regarded as the first palace in Rome to be built from the ground in the Renaissance style. Palazzo della Cancelleria is an extraterritorial property of the Holy See and as such is designated as UNESCO world heritage site. The rumour was that the funds for construction came in a single night’s winnings at gaming when Riario won from Francesco Cibo, nephew of Pope Innocent VIII, 60 000 scudo and contributed them for construction of the palace. Stone roses from the family coat of arms of Riario are still on the facade of the palace today. The building has traditionally been attributed to Bramante and Andreo Bregno. Bramante is also believed to be the architect of the magnificent courtyard with the two-storied loggia. In 1517 the palace was seized by the first Pope from the Medici family – Leo X who placed his chancellery there.

The wide stair leads to the grand hall and the Hall of 100 Days. They say that this name was not given to the hall by accident. Giorgio Vasari had completed painting the hall with the life scenes of Paul III (Alessandro Farnese) within 100 days and boasted of this accomplishment to Michelangelo who responded saying: "It shows!" Palace’s long facade engulfs the small Basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, entrance is on the right side of the facade. The 5th-century church is located on the spot of the ancient Roman peasant temple laid by the Roman Pope Damasus I and being one of the most important earlier Christian churches in Rome. A cemetery in use from the 8th century until shortly before the palace’s construction was also discovered. The forty-four Egyptian granite columns of the inner courtyard are from the porticoes of the theatres upper covered seating, however they were originally taken from the Theatre of Pompey. In the second half of the XVII century the palace was used as the lounge for theatre performances and concerts. Currently palace houses numerous exhibitions.

Address: Piazza della Cancelleria
How to reach: tram 8
Coordinates: 41.896823, 12.471727