Begun in 1517 for the Farnese family, Palazzo Farnese expanded in size and conception when Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1468-1549) became Pope Paul III, in 1534. The palace's long building history involved some of the most prominent Italian architects of the 16th century, including Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Michelangelo, Vignola and Giacomo della Porta.
Several of the main rooms of the Palazzo Farnese are decorated with frescoes, such as the Sala d'Ercole (Hercules Room) and the Sala del Mappamondo (Map Room). However, the most famous frescoes are to be found in the Galleria Farnese. They are the work of Annibale Caracci (1560-1609) and depict the Loves of the Gods.
The coat of arms of Pope Paul III surmounts the entrance to Palazzo Farnese
A detail of the cornice, which displays the heraldic lilies of the Farnese coat of arms