The oldest nucleus of Palazzo Doria
Pamphilj in the Corso dates to Giovanni Fazio Santorio (or Santoro),
cardinal of Santa Sabina, who built himself an important residence
between the Via Lata and the Collegio Romano, in the years 1505
to 1507. This developed around the quadrangular courtyard, in the
style of Bramante, which still today opens onto the entrance in
Via del Corso.
In 1508 the cardinal was compelled by Pope Julius II Della Rovere
(1503-13) to give the palace to the pope’s nephew, Francesco
Maria I Della Rovere, duke of Urbino since 1508. Appointed Prefect
of Rome and Captain General of the Church, the Duke took up residence
in Rome, together with his wife, Eleonora Gonzaga. His son, Guidobaldo
II, as heir of Francesco Maria, inherited his public roles, passing
them on to his son, Francesco Maria II, husband of Lucrezia d’Este.
He left the palace to his uncle, Cardinal Giulio Della Rovere.
Pietro Aldobrandini (1571-1621), Cardinal Nephew from 1593 of his
uncle, Clement VIII (pope 1592-1605), until the latter’s death,
bought the complex in 1601. The building was valued by his architect,
Giacomo della Porta, at a price of 40,000 scudi, but was bought
for 5,000 fewer, on account of his political status. From 1601 to
1647, the Aldobrandini worked on it without cease. Up to the death
of Cardinal Pietro (1621), the architect of the palace was Giovanni
Antonio de Pomis, succeeded by Giovanni Pietro Moraldi, who finished
the works between 1646 and 1648.
On the death of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini, Olimpia the younger
was left as the sole heir of the patrimony (1638); in 1647 she married,
as her second marriage, Camillo Pamphilj, nephew of Innocent X.
The works undertaken by the Aldobrandini continued under the Pamphilj,
involving also the rear side of the palace (1653). In 1659, Camillo
summoned the architect Antonio del Grande to direct the works on
the Collegio Romano, which led to the creation of the Pamphilj Apartment.
For this part of the Palazzo Salviati was sacrificed; this had been
bought by Camillo to make space for the new apartment, which was
to be finished in 1660, with its characteristic L-shaped façade
on the Piazza del Collegio Romano.
The State Apartment (opened to the public in 1996) consisted of
large rooms, together with antechambers and small drawing rooms
to the sides.
On the death of Camillo (1666), his wife, Olimpia, and sons, Benedetto
and Giovan Battista, continued the works, keeping on as architect
Antonio del Grande, who was employed until 1671. Benedetto and his
mother occupied the Pamphilj part, while Giovan Battista with his
wife Violante Facchinetti, as first-born and heir of the Aldobrandini
secundogeniture, occupied the Aldobrandini Apartment.
Antonio del Grande was followed first by Giovanni Pietro Moraldi
(active between 1673 and 1677), and then by Mattia De Rossi (1678).
The new palace architect, active until 1714, was Carlo Fontana,
who was responsible for the demolition of the Aldobrandini Chapel,
in place of which was constructed the antechamber of the piano
After the death of Innocent X, the Pamphilj preferred to reside
in the palace on the Corso rather than in the residence in the Piazza
Navona, as is mentioned in the breve granted to Camillo Pamphilj
by Alexander VII Chigi (16 November 1657): “permission to
be able to live, for his natural life, together with his Wife and
Family, outside the Pal. in Piazza Navona, without incurring any
penalty”. On 10 September 1666, another breve of Alexander
VII renewed the concession to Giovan Battista Pamphilj, Camillo
senior’s eldest son.
Giovan Battista’s son, Camillo Pamphilj junior, undertook
further works on the palace between 1731 and 1734, employing Gabriele
Valvassori to renew the façade on Via del Corso. The upper
loggia of the Renaissance courtyard was closed at this time, converting
the quadrilateral into a display area for the collection of pictures.
These were works which Camillo senior had commissioned or purchased
on the antiquarian market, or those which had come from the Aldobrandini
patrimony, to which had been added those of Lucrezia d’Este,
inherited by Pietro Aldobrandini and brought to Rome in 1598. Valvassori
was followed in 1739 by Paolo Ameli, responsible for the part on
the Via del Plebiscito (1744) and for the grand staircase on Via
del Corso (1748-49).
On the death without heirs of Girolamo Pamphilj in 1760 (his only
son, Benedetto, had died without issue in 1750), opens the struggle
for the inheritance. This was contested by the Borghese and the
Doria, the first on the basis of the marriage of Olimpia Aldobrandini,
her first marriage, with Paolo Borghese, and the second on the basis
of the marriage in 1671 of Anna Pamphilj, born of the second marriage
of Olimpia with Camillo senior, with the Genoese aristocrat Giovanni
Andrea III Doria. Having won the case, the Doria were compelled
to come to Rome by the Pontifical State. According to the law of
the period, in fact, the owner of such extensive properties in the
state of the Church could not reside outside the territory. The
first to take up residence in Rome was to be Giovanni Andrea IV,
but only the son of Giovanni Andrea IV was to be granted, in 1765,
the right to join the name of the Pamphilj to his own.
During his period as prince the Palace underwent a restoration,
evident particularly in the decoration of the rooms of the State
Apartment and of the quadrilateral, or Gallery. The occasion was
the marriage of the prince with Leopoldina di Savoia Carignano (1767),
to whom the groom wished to offer a renovated mansion.
Francesco Nicoletti, an architect from Trapani, , was employed
to supervise the works; he directed the construction between 1767
and 1769, coordinating, together with other operations, the team
of Late-Baroque painters, whose remit was to decorate the ceilings
with painting which are evidently celebratory.
A document survives which describes the undertaking; dating to
before 1768, it was drawn up by Nicoletti himself and held in the
family archive. It is a plan which reproduces in elevation the rooms
of the Gallery and the State Apartment, with attached the list of
paintings to be put on display. The entire Gallery has been reordered
on the basis of this historical evidence, after a series of works
to bring the premises up to modern legal standards.
The uniqueness of the arrangement of the Doria Pamphilj Gallery
derives from this; as happens rarely, a seventeenth-century collection
is here displayed to the public following unusual criteria, but
ones that are faithful to Late Baroque taste.
Filippo Andrea V (1813-1876), with the aid of his architect, Andrea
Busiri Vici, wished to give the collection and the palace a breath
of fresh air; he therefore embarked on new acquisitions and an arrangement
according to new criteria. He was responsible for the choice of
substituting some of the paintings of the collection with so-called
“primitives”, and the acquisition of such works as the
Deposition (or Compassion) of Memling.