There are many stunning palaces which you can visit in Rome. Some are museums, some are still used as the principle residence of the family, some are derelict, some have gardens or views that alone are worth the visit. They all provide a glimpse of another time and of a privileged way of living.
Barbarini – This immense palace is located at the foot of Via Veneto and houses a magnificent collection. Make sure you enjoy the famous helicoidal staircase by Borromini.
Borghese – The former Villa Borghese now the Borghese Gallery houses some of the most beautiful sculpture in the world. Definitely purchase your tickets (2 hour timed admission) in advance and try to go later in the day when the sun is shining through the park and into the villa. If you stay for the entire two hours the crowd thins out and you sometimes have the entire place to yourself before the next group is allowed inside.
Colonna – featured in the movie Roman Holiday this palace is one of the many current residences of the Colonna family. Saturdays only from 9:00 am to 1:15 pm.
Doria Pamphili – I walked by this palace many times before a friend recommended a visit one rainy day. I highly recommend that you take advantage of the audio tour to hear about many intriguing stories related to the family and the collection including the famous Portrait of Innocent X by Velázquez
Farnese – Since 1874 home to the French Embassy. Recently opened to the public on Wednesdays with tours in English. Reservations are required and it is important that you book far in advance as the tickets go fast.
Spada – A smaller palazzo now housing the Italian Council of State. One of my favorites as you can walk into the interior courtyard to enjoy the Borromini perspective anytime of day. I do recommend paying to gain entry to the upper floors as well as an up close view of the perspective. Don’t let the stern looking guards in their immaculate uniforms put you off they are actually quite friendly.