Palazzo Brancaccio was the last noble residence to be built in Rome. The project began in 1879 by will of New York’s high-society lady Mary Elizabeth Bradhurst Field, after her daughter Elizabeth married prince Salvatore Brancaccio (bringing him one million dollars in dowry). Construction was directed by architect Gaetano Koch at first, then by Luca Carimini, and finally by Rodolfo Buti and Carlo Sacconi, who completed the project in 1922. Work extended over the years as the plan became grander and grander, with the building reaching Via Merulana, towards San Giovanni in Laterano, and annexing more and more of the family’s property. Legend has it that the famous Tower of Maecenas – from which Emperor Nero had watched Rome burn down, two thousand years earlier – was incorporated into the Palazzo.
The austere style of the residence’s façade creates a well-crafted sharp contrast with its lavish interiors, which surprise visitors with their richness and care for detail – in line with the time’s need to flaunt opulence to prove one’s financial status, noble lineage and fine personal taste.
The Palazzo’s interiors are a baroque triumph of mirrors, red velvet and stuccos. Ceilings were frescoed by Francesco Gai, a scholar at San Luca and the family portraitist, who was also entrusted with tapestries and the art on the walls. The famous Gala Hall features a balcony all around the perimeter of the room, and 14-meter-tall ceilings decorated with fine stuccos and putti. However, the real gem of the Palazzo is the amazing Mirror Gallery: a room decorated on two sides with mirrors and gold, as a wonderful and sumptuous homage to Versailles.
Today, such outstanding spaces add to the Palazzo’s historical heritage and have made it one of Rome’s most sought-after locations, especially for private events in the world of luxury and exclusive products.
Article by Barbara Palladino
Translation by Michelle Nebiolo