Countries Italy Rome Cultural Tours

Renaissance Rome: From Botticelli to Michelangelo & Raphael

Upon his (Pope Urban VIII) elevation, his kindred flew from Florence to Rome like so many bees (which are the Barberini's arms), to suck the honey of the Church, which they did excessively.

John Bargrave
Clare Ford-Wille
Clare is an independent art historian. She has led study tours to Europe and lectured on European art, architecture and sculpture for more than thirty years, primarily for the University of London, the National Gallery, the V&A and NADFAS. She has also contributed to several academic guides.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways (economy) to Rome
  • 4 nights in the 4-star luxury, Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj hotel
  • 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners and 1 drinks' party (lunch and dinner include wine, water and coffee)
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of your lecturer and tour manager
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of
walking, standing and use of stairs.
Inspirational tours frequently booked together
We visit the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Stanze and the Borgia apartments to view the splendour within the pope's private chapel.

You will have time to experience Michelangelo's masterpiece on the wall and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the same way that popes and cardinals have over the centuries. Quietly, with time to contemplate and absorb this stunning feat of fresco that took Michelangelo three years to complete. When you move into the Raphael Rooms you will see where he borrowed from Michelangelo in his own frescoes.

With a frisson of excitement, you will walk through the Borgia apartments. Home to the infamous Pope Alexander VI and his children, Cesare and Lucrezia. So appalled was Pope Julius II by the debauchery that had taken place within these gloriously Pinturrichio frescoed rooms, that he had them all sealed. The apartments were not reopened until 1889 by Pope Leo XII, having been closed since 1503!
Palazzo Pamphilj is now home to the Brazilian Embassy. By special arrangement, we have organised access to the palazzo for you. On the walls and ceilings, you will see a collection of frescoes and murals by outstanding Baroque artists including Pietro da Cortona,  Giacinto Gimignani, Gaspard Dughet, Andrea Camassei, Giacinto Brandi, Francesco Allegrini, and Pier Francesco Mola.

Palazzo Pamphilj was the vision of Giambattista Pamphilj, who on becoming pope, decided that his family needed a much more prestigious palazzo befitting of their new place atop Roman society. The Palazzo Pamphilj you see today is the work of the architect, Girolamo Rainaldi, with some contributions from Francesco Borromini.
What better place to stay for a tour focused on Rome through the eyes of the grand papal families than a building that was commissioned and lived in by a Pope! The Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel is housed in a section of the Collegio Innocenziano which started out as a school for young boys born on Pamphilj properties who were to enter the clergy. It was commissioned by Pope Innocent X with Francesco Borromini as the architect. The building was started in 1654 and sits next door to the Pamphilj family church, Sant' Agnese in Agone, designed by Bernini.

The apartment of Pope Innocent X is now one of the hotel's suites and Sapienza Travel has reserved this suite for you to book. Throughout the hotel, the doors to the suites are the original doors from the 1650s and there are frescoes, paintings and flooring that has remained in place over the past four hundred years.
The Colonna family dates back to the twelfth century and comes from the town of Colonna, near Rome, from which it takes its name. In 1417, the Western Schism ended when Oddone Colonna was elected as Pope Martin V.

You will have a private tour of Palazzo Colonna which is one of the oldest and largest private palaces of Rome.
Its construction began in the fourteenth century by the Colonna family, who still resides there since eight centuries. Inside you will see the Great Hall to view an impressive series of masterpieces by Guercino, Salvator Rosa, Jacopo Tintoretto, Francesco Salviati, Guido Reni, Giovanni Lanfranco and many others. You will also walk through the richly decorated apartment rooms of Princess Isabelle in addition to a number of other impressive rooms, galleries and halls.

This Sapienza Travel cultural holiday to Rome explores Rome through the lens of the families who counted popes among their ranks. These include names such as Medici, Borgia, Colonna, Borghese and Chigi. We see the extraordinary art and sculpture they commissioned from artists and architects including Fra Angelico, Perugino, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Bernini and Borromini. We visit the buildings in which they lived and worshipped, such as the Sistine chapel, the new St Peter’s and the Palazzi Colonna, Barberini and Doria Pamphilj. We have chosen the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel in Piazza Navona as your hotel for this tour as it was home to the Pamphilj pope, Innocent X.

Rome, the ancient and eternal city, became the home of the papacy from the 1st-century AD. Rome was for many centuries an almost lawless city, with the popes sometimes taking refuge in Viterbo and Orvieto for their own safety. Come 1418, the Council of Constance settled the Western Schism and an era of peace and stability was ushered in with the appointment of the Italian pope, Martin V. This coincided with the birth of the Renaissance and the papal families went on to play a prominent role in the patronage of the arts, leaving us a rich body of work at which to marvel. This tour gives you the opportunity to enjoy much of the rich treasure trove of art and architecture produced before, during and after the Renaissance. This tour is strictly limited to only 22 guests as one of our small group, escorted cultural tours.

Visits to some of the buildings within this itinerary are only possible due to the kindness of the individuals and institutions who own them. For them, we are thankful, as it will allow you to gain great insight into the surroundings and lives of the grand papal families of Rome. On this trip, it is our aim to leave you enriched and delighted having had an enjoyable holiday to Italy with like-minded people.
After our morning flight to Rome, we transfer to the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj hotel. We then visit the Fountain of the Four Rivers, a Bernini design from 1651. A visit to the Pamphilj family church, Sant’Agnese in Agone which contains the Saint’s skull, follows. Prior to dinner in the hotel, you are invited to a drinks reception which a member of the Pamphilj family may attend. The reception takes place on the hotel’s roof terrace. 
We enter the Palazzo Pamphilj (special arrangement) to view the Piano Nobile frescoes by Pietro da Cortona, Andrea Camassei and Pier Francesco Mola. Santa Maria sopra Minerva is the burial site of the two Medici popes and Urban VII. The group may spend time in the home of an Italian noble, prior to our tour of Galleria Doria Pamphilj, a treasure trove of paintings, including Velasquez’s portrait of Innocent X. Time is also spent in the Pantheon. Our private visit to the Sistine Chapel, the Pope Nicholas V Chapel (closed to the public) and the Raphael Stanze takes place this evening. We enjoy dinner together.
This morning is devoted to St Peter’s which had many designers including Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gianlorenzo Bernini. Then to the Farnesina for frescoes by Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giulio Romano and Il Sodoma. Lunch is together before a visit to Palazzo Colonna to see works by Ghirlandaio, Guercino, Pietro da Cortona and many more, in what is one of the largest private collections in Rome.
The morning is spent visiting the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome which houses the tombs of numerous popes. A visit to St Peter in Vincoli affords us Michelangelo’s Moses which forms the centrepiece of Pope Julius II’s sepulchral monument. After lunch, we visit Santa Maria Maggiore to see The Salus Populi Romani, a much venerated early icon of the Virgin and Child in the Borghese chapel. We also find the funerary monument to Clement IX by Carlo Rainaldi.

The afternoon finds us in Palazzo Barberini, gazing at the monumental ceiling fresco by Pietro da Cortona, the Allegory of Divine Providence and the equally awe-inspiring Allegory of Divine Wisdom by Andrea Sacchi. Our evening is rounded-off by dinner together at an excellent restaurant in Via Garibaldi in the Trastevere district of Rome. In the 7th century, this street was the customs post for the Papal States where taxes for wheat were collected.
We spend the morning in the Palazzo Chigi (special arrangement), designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1562 and finished by Carlo Maderno in 1580 for the Aldobrandini family. The Chigi purchased the palazzo a century later and remodelled the building to include the magnificent Library Hall. Today, the palazzo is the home of the Italian Prime Minister. There is then a little free time before the coach departs for Fiumicino airport. Arriving at Heathrow in the early evening.
As the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel has only 27 rooms and is a historic building, all of the rooms and suites are unique. They vary in size, outlook, and furnishing. With that in mind, we are offering these rooms and suites at varying prices to reflect their differences.

Flights - Depart London Heathrow at 9.25am. The return flight departs Rome at 5.15pm, arriving at Heathrow at 6.55pm.
If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us, and we will provide a price for the upgrade. 
Hotel accommodation at Heathrow can be organised; please contact us.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.
Clare Ford-Wille
Clare is an independent art historian. She has led study tours to Europe and lectured on European art, architecture and sculpture for more than thirty years, primarily for the University of London, the National Gallery, the V&A and NADFAS. She has also contributed to several academic guides.
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in business at the Reed Travel Group, LexisNexis and The Economist. Charles received his MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of London. He is currently studying a Masters' in early Netherlandish art and its impact on the art of Renaissance Italy at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Shortly, Charles will commence doctoral studies at King’s College London in co-regency and the transfer of power at Northern Italian courts in the 15th & 16th centuries. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts, 15th-century Florence and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj
The baroque splendour of the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamhlij Hotel awaits your arrival. Built in the 1650s by the architect, Francesco Borromini, under the patronage of Giambattista Pamphilj, by then Pope Innocent X, this building started out as the Collegio Innocenziano. A school that prepared boys born in Pamphilj properties for the ecclesiastical life. The hotel has unenviable views over Piazzo Navona from some of the rooms and also from its glorious roof terrace from which the domes of the churches of Rome punctuate the skyline.

This luxurious four-star hotel offers a selection of magnificent rooms and suites for you to choose. The Pope Innocent X suite is where Innocent X slept and worked. It still has the door to the escape route out of the palazzo for Innocent X should the palazzo come under attack. Many of the suites are at least 40sqm in size, with some up to 67 sqm. All the rooms have their original doors and flooring from the 1650s.

Sapienza Travel has chosen this hotel in Rome for your stay as it fits the narrative of our tours. Baroque splendour from the 17thC that demonstrated the power and beauty of a papal family.

We very much hope you enjoy your stay in this unique hotel.
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Duration: 5 days
from £1,695 per person
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