The monumental pile that is the Palazzo del Quirinale was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII (r. 1572-85) as a papal summer residence. Work began in 1574 under the architects, Flamino Ponzio and Ottaviano Mascherino. The palazzo wasn't completed until the time of Pope Clement XII (r. 1720-40).
The principal entrance, which is surmounted by reclining statues of Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome, was created by Carlo Maderno during the reign of Pope Paul V (r. 1605-21).
In 1871 the Palazzo del Quirinale became the official residence of Italy's royal family, and since the foundation of the Italian Republic, in 1946, it has housed the country's president.
Three flags fly over the Palazzo del Quirinale. In addition to the tricolour of Italy and the flag of the European Union (twelve gold stars on a blue background), the third flag represents the President of the Republic. The president's flag is only raised when he (there has yet to be a female holder of the office) is in residence.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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