Ever wondered what it was like to live a life of opulence 400 years ago in one of the most culturally rich countries in the world? Well, wonder no more, because now you can.
The Palazzo Odescalchi in Rome is a four-bedroom Renaissance period palace trapped in another time – one can almost smell the schemes and power struggles that might have played out in its halls – and now it can be yours for the night
Boasting an actual throne hall, this is no ordinary period home, but one with an incredible connection to history. Cardinal Flavio Chigi, a nephew to Pope Alexander VII, was the original owner in the 17th century, before the Odescalchis, related to Pope Innocent XI, took up residence in the 18th. The building itself was designed by Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini and even partly by Nicola Salvi, the creator of the famous Trevi Fountain.
In total, four nobles families took up residence in the palace (all of whom sent one of their own to become a Pope), a 10,764 square feet work of art, filled from top to bottom with priceless artifacts.
It was current owner Princess Maria Pace Odescalchi who decided to open its lavish doors to the common folk, taking two years to restore the palace to its former glory. Consulting with leading artisans and historians, she spared no expense, bringing in over 1000 square feet of marble from ancient quarries and hundreds of feet of Rubelli and San Leucio silk.
On one side of the palace, two great rooms face a piazza and on the other are the bedrooms, facing their own private courtyard decorated with original Roman statues. Inside, guests will find frescoes, 16th-century Flemish tapestries, 18th-century marquetry floors bearing the Odescalchi coat of arms, Etruscan artifacts and even paintings by Strozzi and Van Dyck.
Guests might be walking through the halls of history in the Palazzo Odescalchi, but it has some modern comforts tucked away inside for 21st-century travelers, such as WiFi, AC and a Sonos sound system.
Princess Maria explained that while the palace is a historical masterpiece, it is also a home and while the original purpose of its decoration was to inspire awe, today it is also to draw in guests.
The palace is staffed by a butler and maid, but for an additional cost, you can request further concierge services that provide tours of the city led by personal contacts of the owner, which includes academics, fashion designers, and experts on Italian cuisine, wine, and gardens.
Should you stay at the Palazzo Odescalchi, you will also be given special access to many of the perks of being an Odescalchi, such as tables at the best restaurants in town.
After all, as the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.