Perched atop the Quirinale Hill, one of Rome's seven hills, this former papal summer residence has been home to the Italian head of state since 1948. Originally commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII (r 1572–85) it was built and added to over 150 years by architects including Ottaviano Mascherino, Domenico Fontana, Francesco Borromini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Maderno. Guided tours of its grand reception rooms should be booked at least five days ahead by telephone, or online at www.coopculture.it.
Shorter tours (€1.50, 1¼ hours) visit the reception rooms; longer tours (adult/reduced €10/5, 2½ hours) also include the gardens and carriage collection. The latter are overly long and the extra areas visited are not particularly interesting. Tours (only in Italian) start from the tradesmen's entrance on Via del Quirinale; arrive 15 minutes before your allotted time and bring your passport or identity card. On the other side of the piazza, the palace’s former stable building, the Scuderie al Quirinale, hosts excellent art exhibitions.