This is an extremely unique itinerary that traces the steps of court personalities, prostitutes, and women of power who lived between the 15th and 17th centuries. It should be emphasized that the ties between these personalities and the cardinals, princes, and popes were quite strong. Some women were thirsty for power. Others were unjustly-accused. Learn how these dramatic episodes in history paint a tale of intrigue, betrayal and romance.

 

                       

 

Itinerary Details:

MEETING POINT: PIAZZA FARNESE, in front of PALAZZO FARNESE

Palace Farnese was once home to Alessandro Farnese, a priest made Cardinal thanks in part to his sister Giulia’s influence. Giulia’s nickname was “the beautiful” or “la bella,” as she was the young favorite of dissolute Pope Alexander VI (Borgia).  

The Palace is a treasure trove of Renaissance art and architecture and represents the culmination of architectural achievement continually improving since the construction of the first ancient Roman noble palaces. If this palace is the culmination, the Venetian Palace (Palazzo di Venezia, mid-15th c.) was the archetype that threw down the gauntlet in challenge.

VICOLO DEL GALLO

In the Vicolo del Gallo (Rooster/Cock Alley), there still remains the doorway of a location controlled by Madam Vannozza Cattanei. Beloved of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, she bore him four illegitimate children, including the famous Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia - only denounced once their father ascended the Papal throne as Alexander VI.

CAMPO DE’ FIORI

Campo de' Fiori (the Field of Flowers) is the last place where Giovanni Borgia, Duke of Gandia, was seen alive.  After a passionate encounter with a courtesan, he was killed suddenly by two assassins in Piazza Giuda. This murderous duo is believed to have been sent by Giovanni’s brother Cesare— possibly even accomplices of his lover!

PIAZZA NAVONA

Palace Pamphili overlooks Piazza Navona and was the preferred residence of Pope Innocent X’s sister-in-law, Olimpia Maidalchini.  Olimpia, arguably the most influential woman of her time, remained a personality known throughout Rome. She was known as “the Pimpaccia” (Your Highness) or “the Papessa” (High Priestess). The cunning Olimpia profiteered from issuing high-interest loans, and ‘presented’ beautiful courtesans to the Roman power-players, lecherous aristocrats and clergy alike, taking a percentage of their ‘earnings’ in exchange for her favors.

PALAZZO MADAMA

Palace Madama was the former residence of Cardinal Del Monte, a patron of many notable artists of the time, including Caravaggio. Now the seat of the Italian government’s Senate, this is most-likely where Caravaggio met his muse Fillide, an extremely sought-after courtesan. She was portrayed in his paintings alongside Anna Bianchini (nicknamed “Annuncia”) in some of his works.

PIAZZA SAN MARCO

The colossal marble bust near Basilica San Marco is one of the Eternal City’s five famous “Talking Statues”.  The bust, disfigured over time, was a gift to Madam Lucrezia, a 15th century noblewoman who successfully seduced King Alfonso of Aragon, gaining wealth and fame throughout his reign, lasting far after his own death.

 

Duration of the Tour: 1 hr 30 min

Meet in Piazza Farnese, in front of the main entrance of the Palazzo Farnese.

29 euros per person

19 euros for 18 years and under

FREE for children under 6

 

For further information and reservations please call: 0692939974; 0766840578; cell. 3281640180, or email: segreteria@romoloeremo.com.

Payments can be made cash directly to the guide, who will hold a sign “Romulus and Remus” at the meeting point.

 

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