For Rent: Palazzo Farnese

September 25, 2008 / Art & Archaeology
An agent’s commission from a long term lease in Italy is a month’s rent from both the owner and the tenant, so you know he’s either still kicking himself in the grave OR his colleagues at the Real Estate Agent’s Association (had there been one back then) laughed him straight out of town.

Granted, determining the monthly rent on a property like this isn’t easy. Let’s see . . .

Three story Italian Renaissance palazzo, occupies an entire city block of downtown Rome. Construction begun in 1513, whole neighborhoods razed to the ground to make space for it, its piazza, and the gardens.

Initial architectural plans by Sangallo, completed by Michelangelo. Contains frescoes by so many Renaissance masters (Carracci, Domenichino, Volterra, etc.) that it alone is the birthplace of various schools of art and painting styles. Anything not covered in frescoes or inlaid carved exotic wood paneling is covered by enormous fine tapestries.

The atrium (coat room, anyone?), has three naves separated by columns and is 50 feet long. Total square footage of the entire property, is unknown, but to put things in perspective just one of the many halls is 3300 square feet and has 54 foot high ceilings.

What’s that expression? “Fit for a king”? Sure enough, two of the Bourbon kings of Naples as well as a Pope called Palazzo Farnese home over the ages.

And so what does our genius Real Estate agent go and do? He rents the place out to the French . . . for 1 lira a year!!

— Wonderful images by Françoise Mouton: A professional photographer who loves taking photos of Rome, (and is a great business photographer as well).


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

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