Grande Bellezza: Palazzo Sacchetti

The world revolves around Rome.

Is Rome a fairy tale? No. It's chaotic and surreal existence of contradiction, beauty and argument - a test of true grit with a pretty reward, if you know where to look. So it makes sense that the Eternal City’s unyielding beauty and unforgiving personality are constantly used as backdrop and setting for films.

Case in point: Academy Awarding winning film, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty, 2013), by Paolo Sorrentino, about an overgrown and overripe literary playboy, Jep, whose lives unfulfilled in 21st century Rome. The city plays silent protagonist to the has-been writer by juxtaposing the relentless beauty of Rome to the fathomless emptiness of Jep’s life. Scenes are shot all over the city and showcase every area and era—ancient and modern, panorama and palazzo.

In April, I had the opportunity to visit Palazzo Sacchetti, Great Beauty backdrop and just another one of Rome’s amazing Renaissance-era palazzi. Rome runs rampant with them, and they all come with a pedigree. Palazzo Sacchetti probably has the best. Location is key. Via Giulia is a quiet thoroughfare that connects the Campo de' Fiori area to the Vatican in a beautifully lined street of mid and late Renaissance palaces. The palace was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (of the da Sangallo architect dynasty) in 1542, right after the renovation and beautification of Via Giulia by Pope Julius II, and is home to grottoes, chapels, gardens, sculpture and paintings by legends like Pietro da Cortona. Since 1648, it has been the property of the Sacchetti family who, to this day, live on the piano nobile, while the remaining floors are rental apartments and offices.

The Sacchetti Family apartment is a glimpse into a forgotten aristocracy where majordomos follow you through out the rooms, tea is served on vintage Meissen and da Cortona frescoes grin at you. And from the moment I entered the piano nobile, I saw red-- a luxury rosso moves you throughout the apartment from the upholstered front door, the papal crest and chair in the main entrance, the details in frescoes in the Mappamondi and the accents in the dining room, salotto and other galleries. Visit organized by Italian Ways.

For more of my photos, please visit my Momentage article.