The Colonna Pope Martin V constructed this palace which today is still owned by his family. It was Martin V who brought the papacy back to Rome after its exile in Avignon. On his return, he found the city in horrible shape: dilapidated buildings everywhere, ancient temples collapsing, roads covered with mud.
Altogether, it was a filthy abandoned city just as the writer Platina described it.
The pope gave Rome a new face: he got rid of the thieves and bandits who infested the streets, and made the city safe again for Romans and pilgrims alike.
The Colonna family has occupied Rome since Medieval times and appears to have derived its name from the proximity of Trajan's Column to the family's ancestral home.
With a donation from Pope Julius II, their palace took on an austere appearance and became a kind of fortress. The 17th century renovations made it less aggressive and the alterations in the next century gave it the appearance it has today.
The salons of the Palazzo Colonna have witnessed some of history's most exceptional events.
The 18th century gallery is duly opened to the public on Saturday mornings, but the rest of the building, however, is private.