Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Palazzo Colonna andadmire the family's collection of artworks. I was astonished both by the richness of the state rooms open to the public-- works by Carravaggio,Bronzino, etc. --and by the unmistakable signs that this palace was awell-beloved home to a family. At one point I looked out of the window of a magnificent 18th c. room into a courtyard littered with children's toys, tricycles and a jungle gym. I thought that was wonderful, that such magnificence could also be warm and comfortable to a family. The scale of the palazzo is enormous. I had already passed it severaltimes during my stay and assumed it was a government office building.I was amazed to find out that the Colonnas have had a dwelling on that land since the 13th century!