The Palazzo della Cancelleria, prototype of the Renaissance architecture, was built 1485 for cardinal Raffaele Riario, then pope Sixtus IV, appointed by his uncle the titular of the basilica St. Lorenzo in Damaso. According to Vasari the works were partly executed by Bramante. To build the palace a Church was destroyed and was rebuilt and inglobated in the new building.
Are you a local? What do you think about Palace of the Chancellery?
Login to suggest it!
The building was completed between 1511 and 1513, under pope Julius II Della Rovere, whose coat of arms is visible on the facade together with Sixtus IV coat of arms, another member of the Della Rovere family. After being completed the building was confiscated and became the seat of the Apostolic Chancery.
During the 16th century the interior was decorated, other decorations were made in the 17th century and most of all in the 18th century, when in the palace was built a small theatre no more existing, after a project by Filippo Juvarra. The building enjoys the privilege of extraterritoriality granted to Vatican property under the terms of the Lateran Treaty and today it houses the court of the Rota, the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia and the Pontificia Commissione per i Beni Culturali della Chiesa.
The broad smooth surfaces, the straight lines and the shallow pilasters of the travertine façade, give it a majestic quality. The granite columns which support the two storeys of the arcading surrounding the courtyard – a harmonious composition probably by Bramante – come from the early building of the Church of San Lorenzo in Damaso. Inside, in the Sala Riaria, is a clock face painted by Baciccia, the Salone dei Cento Giorni is decorated by a fresco painted by Giorgio Vasari and assistants (1546).
In the Appartamento Cardinalizio is the Cappella del Pallio (stuccoed and painted by Salviati) and the Salone di Studio with frescoes on the ceiling by Perin del Vaga. After archaeological surveys in 1940s many important finds now in the Vatican Museums, a mythreum and the sepulchre of consul Aulus Hirtius.