Overlooking Piazza del Quirinale, this immense palace is the official residence of Italy’s head of state, the President of the Republic. For almost three centuries it was the pope’s summer residence, but in 1870 Pope Pius IX begrudgingly handed the keys over to Italy’s new king. Later, in 1948, it was given to the Italian state. Visits, by guided tour only, should be booked at least five days ahead by telephone, or buy online at www.coopculture.it.
Collect phone-booked tour tickets at the nearby Infopoint at Salita di Montecavallo 15. Shorter tours visit the reception rooms; longer tours include the gardens and carriage collection. Tours (only in Italian) use the tradesmen entrance on Via del Quirinale; arrive 15 minutes before your allotted time. On the other side of the piazza, the palace’s former stables, the Scuderie al Quirinale, host excellent art exhibitions.