fooling the senses

One of architecture’s marvels and a landmark relatively unknown to most visitors to the Eternal City, is Francesco Borromini’s masterly 17th-century trompe l’oeil perspective colonnade in the Palazzo Spada, just around the corner from the Palazzo Farnese.

From afar, the colonnade gives the illusion of a long and grand vaulted passageway, receding into the background.  On closer inspection, the colonnade is actually less than 30 feet (9 meters) deep and the ceiling is so low at the end of the tunnel, that only a small child is able to stand up.  Known as “forced perspective”, the space is built to telescope from the reality of where the viewer stands to the ridiculous reduced scale of the background.  This is sheer architectural design genius and one of my favorite spots in Rome!!!!
image credit: © Richard Rabel
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