Gallery Doria Pamphilj is one of the galleries in Rome that belongs to an aristocratic family, which for centuries had ties with the Vatican and Papacy. The families that have such status are also called the Black Nobility. Such family names as Odescalchi, Ludovisi, Orsini, Colonna, Massimo and others are also among them. Unsurprisingly, many of them are known today also for their art galleries and palaces they have been accumulating for centuries. For example, I have already written about one such family and their stunning gallery acknowledged as one of the best museums in the world. I am talking about the fabulous Villa Borghese Gallery and, yes, the Borghese family are also part of the Black Aristocracy.
Coming back to Doria Pamphilj, the history of this family started in the 12th century in Genoa (unthinkable). The gallery appeared 300 years later. After the first Doria came to Rome, the family started acquiring power and strong ties with the Vatican and for that time it also meant acquiring and collecting art, too, which was a classy way to show off. The Gallery of Doria Pamphilj in Rome was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries and till today contains one of the best private collections of paintings in the world.
The gallery is located in a palace, which also contains a beautiful chapel, rooms of princes and princesses, which are left almost untouched and an archive. Apart from this Palazzo Doria Pamphilj (Palazzo means Palace), the family owned the Villa Doria Pamphilj, which in the 1970s was expropriated by the city and made into the biggest public park in Rome.
The Gallery Doria Pamphilj is a pure concentration of art and aristocratic history in one place. Together with the gallery there is an option to buy a ticket into the private chambers of the Palace. These chambers are special for their interior that dates back to the baroque times.
The gallery impresses its visitors not only with the quality and value of the masterpieces, but also with the number of art objects. There is literally no place for more works. Each wall of the gallery and chambers is fully packed. Among the most famous masters of fine arts there are both Italian and non-Italian. Together with Caravaggio, Raphael, Carracci, Bernini, Titian and numerous others, you can find works of Flemish, French, English and other painters. For example, Diego Velázquez, Jan Van Scorel and Claude Lorrain are also represented here. And let’s not forget about a great number of sculptures, unique furniture and decor that guarantees you the atmosphere of a real palace.
Some people say they were taken aback by the absence of order of the paintings, which oftentimes hang on the walls quite spontaneously. That’s why, I warmly recommend visiting this place with a guide who will tell you just enough in order to put things together and get the picture about this estate, the people who lived here and the major masterworks of this a tad unorderly, but gorgeous gallery.
Be also prepared for the unsightly looks of the building that houses the palace and all its treasures. Many times this contrast amazes visitors and makes them remember this gallery in the future even better, because this place is really a secret treasure house of beauty.
Ticket Costs: 12 euro for the entrance including the audio guide. Additional fees are taken if you enter the chambers and the chapel (around 2 euro). The gallery works every day except for special holidays. If you are in doubt check up with the schedule on their official website. Also, take into account that you pay an additional price for using your camera inside, so it is better to decide whether you are going to take pictures at the entrance and not later when it will be a bit problematic to return.
How amazing is that the gallery, the chapel and the rooms of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj are still used today for different events, concerts and ceremonies. Some parts of the building are even still inhabited. The latter fact seems almost unbelievable and yet it is true. How many other places like that will you find in the world?
One more reason to visit this gallery is the absence of crowds. This gallery is normally less busy with tourists during the day and it is a good idea to attend it in summer to cool off and yet to visit one of the most rich in masterpieces art collection. If you are up to art, you definitely can’t miss this amazing landmark Rome has to offer.