A little known museum in Rome: Galleria Spada (Spada Gallery)
In spite of being walking distance from Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori or even the Jewish Ghetto (as well as being across the river from Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere), Galleria Spada is a museum that gets little to no love from international tourists.
Can it be because of the police and soldiers guarding its entrance? We are not sure, but don’t be put off by their presence! They’re only there because Galleria Spada shares its spaces with the Council of State, the body ensuring and regulating the legality of public administration in Italy.
Established in one of the most important Renaissance palazzo in Rome, it was the property of cardinal Girolamo Recanati Capodiferro, which is why the building is also known as Palazzo Spada-Capodiferro (and incidentally, this explains the name of the little square outside its main entrance). A state-owned museum since 1927, it hosts a collection of art from the 16th and 17th century, mostly paintings – but not exclusively so.
Masterpieces and illusions
On top of featuring works from the likes of Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian, Artemisia Gentileschi, Guido Reni and many, many others, the Spada Gallery is also well known for one of the most famous optical illusions in Rome.
A forced perspective was commissioned to Francesco Borromini to make it seem like the palazzo was really bigger than it was – lodged as it was, originally, against the banks of the river Tiber. This stunning effort makes it seem like the celebrated colonnade in the courtyard of the Galleria is really 4 times longer than it really is. It is one of the most photographed “tricks” of its kind worldwide! And the best thing is, you’re guaranteed to be able to enjoy it by yourself, just like the ETRU at Ville Giulia, as travelers don’t flock here!
Galleria Spada is on Piazza Capo di Ferro, 13. Opens everyday from 830AM to 730PM (not on Tuesdays). You can read more information about it at this address: and remember that this museum is conveniently located from many of our managed apartments, starting with Cieloterra, the studios at Via del Pellegrino or even Catalana al Ghetto.