Dungeons of the Palazzo Valentini: Domus Romane


Palazzo Valentini was privately owned by Cardinal Michele Bonelli. The cardinal was the nephew of Pope Pius the Fifth. Michele Bonelli acquired this palace in 1585 from Giacomo Boncompagni on the edge of the then Piazza dei Santi Apostoli. A little later, Via Nazionale appeared, leading to Piazza Venezia. Today, this palace has a border between the square. At that time, the cardinal owned an additional piece of land that went far beyond the borders of the Palazzo. Later this piece of land was called the Pantheon. At the request of the cardinal, the construction and refinement of the territory was carried out at a fast pace. The main architect of the new Palazzo was Domenico Paganelli. The master decided to build a house with a trapezoidal shape. Three years later, the general construction work was completely completed, and the cardinal moved to live in a new palace. After some time, this estate became owned by Carlo Bonelli and Michelle Ferdinando Bonelli. The heirs of the palace made a number of changes in the general form of the estate. A major reconstruction was carried out, and a decision was made to expand the estate. After that, for some time the castle was in ruins and partially destroyed. The new owner, Cardinal Renato Imperial, partially rebuilt it. During his residence in this estate was added a family library, which was called "imperial". The famous master Francesco Peparelli helped to bring new ideas about the modernization of the palazzo cardinal to life. The palazzo acquired its name from one of the owners of the house - a banker whose last name was Valentini.


Today, this palazzo has become a place of interesting historical excavations, the process of which everyone can watch. At the time of archaeological work, a foundation was discovered that dates from the fourth and second centuries BC. Previously, there were two houses in which therms existed. A room called frigidarium was also discovered. This is a room in ancient Roman baths, which contained cool air. Near this frigidarium, archaeologists discovered an additional room. This is a small-sized room, which has a very rich decoration even for our time. Such rare natural materials as porphyry and African marble were used in finishing works. The purpose of this room remains a mystery to scientists.

Palazzo Valentini - historical excursion

Located between the roundabout of Venice Square and the Trajan's Forum, the Palazzo Valentini, which has been the main residence of the Roman province since 1873, was built in 1585. Cardinal Michele Bonelli Ghislieri (1541-1598), who was the nephew of Pope Pius V, erected this palace on the remains of a previously existing building purchased from Giacomo Boncompagni. The palazzo project was written by the monk Domenico Paganelli and, thanks to a generous cash infusion, the construction was completed in three years.

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In the XVII century, by Cardinals Carlo and Ferdinando Bonelli, the palace was significantly expanded. Subsequently, the Italian architect Francesco Peparelli rebuilt it for the new owner - Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali (1651-1737), who created here a huge family library (known as the Imperiali library), consisting of 24 thousand. volumes. At the beginning of the 18th century, the building was leased to several prominent figures, including the Marquis Francesco Maria Ruspoli, who lived there between 1705 and 1713. He used the Palazzo as a private theater and hospitably met here famous musicians of that time, including Georg Friedrich Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti and Arcangelo Corelli.

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In 1752, the building was bought by Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli. He moved a huge collection of books and documents to the ground floor and opened a library there for public use. In 1827, the Prussian banker and consul general Vincenzo Valentini bought the palace for his own residence, calling him his own name. The banker placed here his own collection of paintings and archaeological finds, and also supplemented the library collection with rare editions. Finally, in 1873, the Provincial Deputation of Rome bought the building into ownership and since then the Roman prefecture has been located here.

Shocking archaeological finds of Rome hidden underground

Where the past is intertwined with the present

Excavations carried out under the direction of art historians and historians near the Palazzo Valentini have opened another object worth visiting for visitors to the Eternal City. It is believed that the Domus Romane underground complex, the ruins of which date back to the 2nd century AD, is part of the neighboring archaeological scheme found here in 1907 during the construction of the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni on Venice Square. Artifacts found at a 7-meter depth testify to the importance of this place of the city in the ancient era and provide new information about the ancient and medieval topography of Rome.

Today, there is an amazing multimedia museum, which opened on October 16, 2010. Glass floors allow you to see from perfectly preserved unique and finely detailed mosaic floors to the colossal marble columns of the times of Emperor Trajan.

Thanks to modern visualization technologies, visitors to the house open to the patricians' homes, richly decorated with mosaics and wall paintings, belonging to the wealthy families of Imperial Rome.

Revived in augmented reality presented artifacts provide a unique opportunity to take a virtual journey into the history of ancient Rome.

Photo and description

Palazzo Valentini is a palace in Rome near Piazza Venezia. Since 1873 belongs to the city administration.

The Palazzo was built by order of Cardinal Michele Bonelli, the nephew of Pope Pius V, who in 1585 acquired the palace from Giacomo Boncompagni, which was located in Piazza dei Santi Apostoli. Today, the Palazzo Valentini is separated from this square by Via Quatro Novembre. The cardinal also owned a vast plot of land behind the palazzo, which once housed the forums of Trajan and Augustus. In those years, this plot of land was undergoing a stage of development and urbanization - it was then that the Alessandrino region was created (the cardinal came from the province of Alessandria). In the 1920-1930s, the quarter was destroyed during the creation of Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The trapezoidal shape of the Palazzo Valentini was designed by the architect Domenico Paganelli and built in just three years, thanks to an impressive investment by the cardinal. In the 17th century, the building underwent a number of modifications and extensions, and was even partially destroyed and rebuilt according to the project of Francesco Peparelli for the new owner, Cardinal Renato Imperiali, who initiated the library of 24 thousand volumes. At the beginning of the 18th century, a private theater worked for some time in the building, in which outstanding musicians - Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Arcangelo Corelli, etc.

In 1827, the Palazzo was acquired by the Prussian banker Vincenzo Valentini, whose name the building bears today. The palace was again expanded and somewhat rebuilt, and its new owner placed here his collection of paintings and the archaeological collection (do not forget about the impressive library). Today in the Palazzo Valentini you can see a statue of the Odyssey by Hugo Attardi and "Aeneas and Anchis" and "Europe" by Sandro Kia.

During recent archaeological excavations, a small thermal complex was discovered beneath the basement of the palazzo, probably a part of the large thermal baths found at the beginning of the 20th century during the construction of the neighboring Palazzo della Assicuratsoni di Venice. The ruins of the term are open for inspection.