November is over, but even this year I managed to take part to this year's edition of Palazzi di Roma a Porte Aperte, where people are granted the visit of places usually closed to the public.
My pick was the Palazzo della Rovere located in Piazza Santi Apostoli, by the minor basilica that gives the name to the square. Right know this clean, simple building is known also as Palazzo Colonna from the family that inherited it, but originally it was built by Giuliano on a project of his cousin Cardinal Pietro Riario.
The guide presented us an interesting tour of the cenotaphs that could be spotted on the wall adjoining the basilica.
We started with the one dedicated to the glorious Michelangelo, originally resting here and then "stolen" by the Medici's ruffians to bring the corpse of the artist to Florence:
Another interesting cenotaph concerns Cardinal Bessarion, the famous Greek scholar and humanist:
So, as we said, Giuliano lived here from the death of Pietro, on 1474, to his election as Pope, on 1503.
After that, he presented the building to his niece, Lucrezia Gara, as a present for her marriage to Marcantonio I Colonna. His daughter, Felice della Rovere, married Gian Giordano Orsini instead. This way Julius II wanted to make peace between the two most important noble families of Rome, whose rivalry affected the whole city and its safety since centuries.
On 1589 the building was bought by Pope Sixtus V Peretti for 15000 scudi, who presented it to the Minorites-- This explains why now the walls are covered with the portraits of the "Generals" of the order: starting from Saint Francis of Assisi to the most modern heads, it's really interesting to look at the different styles of the portraits, suggesting the passing of time!
We were then guided around the rooms, where we could enjoy the beautiful frescoes and the lovely ceilings, with their typical coffering: