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Palazzo Barberini verified

Roma, Lazio, IT closed Visit museumarrow_right_alt

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Square Staircase
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Francesco Borromini - Helicoidal Staircase
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Andrea Sacchi - Allegory of Divine Wisdom
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Annibale Carracci - Portable Altarpiece with “Pietà” and Saints
fullscreen
Domínikos Theotokópoulos, detto El Greco - Baptism of Christ
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Agnolo di Cosimo, detto il Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna
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Pietro da Cortona - The Triumph of Divine Providence and the Fulfilment of its Purposes under Pope Urban VIII
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Raffaello Sanzio - La Fornarina
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Piero di Cosimo - Saint Mary Magdalene
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Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Narcissus
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Urban VIII
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Guido Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci
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Lorenzo Lotto - The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints
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Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Judith Beheading Holofernes
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Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Saint Francis in Meditation
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Hans Holbein il Giovane - Portrait of Henry VIII
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Giovanni Baronzio - Episodes of the Passion of Christ
fullscreen
Pompeo Batoni - Portrait of Abbondio Rezzonico
fullscreen
Filippo Lippi - Annunciation
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Square Staircase
Francesco Borromini - Helicoidal Staircase
Andrea Sacchi - Allegory of Divine Wisdom
Annibale Carracci - Portable Altarpiece with “Pietà” and Saints
Domínikos Theotokópoulos, detto El Greco - Baptism of Christ
Agnolo di Cosimo, detto il Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna
Pietro da Cortona - The Triumph of Divine Providence and the Fulfilment of its Purposes under Pope Urban VIII
Raffaello Sanzio - La Fornarina
Piero di Cosimo - Saint Mary Magdalene
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Narcissus
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Urban VIII
Guido Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci
Lorenzo Lotto - The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Judith Beheading Holofernes
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Saint Francis in Meditation
Hans Holbein il Giovane - Portrait of Henry VIII
Giovanni Baronzio - Episodes of the Passion of Christ
Pompeo Batoni - Portrait of Abbondio Rezzonico
Filippo Lippi - Annunciation

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Description

The staircase, probably designed by Francesco Borromini, serves the south wing of the palace, so complementing Bernini’s staircase on a principle which is not just aesthetic but also distributive and functional. Accessed by the external portico, it led to Cardinal Francesco Barberini’s rooms, and was intended for more private use. The staircase is helicoidal, hence it follows the principle of turning on its rotational axis. It has an oval plan, flattened longitudinally, so providing easier ascent than staircases on a circular plan. The model was codified in the Cinquecento treatises by Vignola, Sebastiano Serlio and Andrea Palladio. Each turn comprises 12 Doric double twisted columns and capitals decorated with small bees (the Barberini family’s heraldic symbol). The main axis measures 9.40 m, and the lesser axis 7.85 m. Light is shed through the oculus above as well as the windows in the façade. In the initial project, the staircase terminated in a free ramp; this was later reduced as a result of the top floor of the palace being raised to make room for Cardinal Francesco’s rich library, now transferred to the Vatican. Spiral-shaped structures, with all the problems involved in their design, were particularly congenial to Borromini’s eccentric spirit: he devised them in several drawings and in the architectural details of other works.

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