The Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome is more than just a museum. It’s an architectural gem with an historic past all of its own. What’s more, the museum acts as an institution focused on education. Here visitors not only get to see some of the world’s masterpieces, but learn about arts appreciation in general. In this article, we look at what’s on the walls at the Scuderie del Quirinale, as well as what’s behind them!
More Than a Museum
Also known as the Papal Stables, the Scuderie del Quirinale was a simplistic building in the early 18th century. It was renovated and developed into the complex we see today in 1732 after ten years of construction. Pope Innocent XIII commissioned its development, but unfortunately passed before its completion. The Scuderie served as working stables up until 1938, after which it was converted to accommodate parking. Today, the Scuderie functions as a stunning museum, renovated by renowned Italian architect, Gae Aulenti.
The building is neighboured by two other structures on Monte Cavallo (Horse Hill), as the piazza is nicknamed. These adjacent palaces are the Palazzo della Consulta and the Palazzo del Quirinale. It’s here you’ll find the Italian Republic’s official presidential residence, and the Constitutional Court, respectively.
Must-See Attractions at the Scuderie del Quirinale
Within and around this gem, numerous must-see sights besides the art on display are available. The Scuderie and its counterparts, for example, surround the famous statues of Castor and Pollux, the Roman Dioscuri (horse tamers). These massive statues are installed on either side of an obelisk, sourced from the nearby Mausoleum of Augustus.
The Scuderie del Quirinale itself covers 3,000m² over seven floors. It overlooks the Colonna gardens, which lay on top of the remains of the great Roman Temple of Serapide. Some of this temple remains intact, and can still be seen and explored. You definitely won’t want to miss the Great Window, an addition owed to Gae Aulenti’s renovation. As Monte Cavallo is the tallest of Rome’s Seven Hills, the Great Window provides visitors with a jaw dropping 180° view of the city. You will be able to spot the Victor Emanuel Monument in Piazza Venezia, Monte Mario and the Pincio Hills, the many rooftops of Rome’s city centre, and even Saint Peter’s Basilica in the distance.
The renovation of the Scuderie del Quirinale has allowed the city of Rome to recover a veritable architectural treasure, and puts to strategic use a structure that, thanks to its history and design, represents an exhibition space of inestimable worth. In the 18 years of its role as a museum, the Scuderie has developed an extensive arts program aimed at promoting appreciation of the arts and world history, and making the world’s masterpieces available to all.
From their first exhibition of a collection from the world famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, to their presentation of the works of Vermeer, Botticelli and Tiziano, the museum has always maintained a standard of excellence. This season saw the exhibition of paintings and sculptures from the royal Spanish collection – “From Caravaggio to Bernini” – which contained 17th century masterpieces from the likes of Guercino, Bernini and Velázquez. The exhibition consisted of works which are rarely accessible to the public. These included Bernini’s Crucifix and Caravaggio’s Salome.
Accessible Art for All
The museum’s facilities are exceptional. Besides the cafeteria, bookstore, and gift shop, guided tours are available via professional guides or the museum’s WebAround app. One can also arrange private tours, viewings and buffets after hours. The Scuderie del Quirinale also offers tactile books representing the art on display for the visually impaired, as well as art workshops for adults and children. This is rather in line with their mandate to promotes access to the masterpieces of history’s great artists for all, and to create interest within the wider public.
Sunday – Thursday: 10am to 8pm
Friday – Saturday: 10am to 10.30pm
Address: Via XXIV Maggio 16, Rome
Tel.: +39 06 3996 7500
If you liked this article, be sure to read: Peggy Guggenheim Collection , An Interview with the Italian Artist, Cameron Platter, The Egyptian Museum of Turin