Piazza Venezia 5
Tel 06 8715111
Opened from Monday to Friday from 9 to 7 pm
On Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 9pm.
Until the 8 march 2020.
Rome is full of very rich museums and beautiful exhibitions but, from last October and until the beginning of March, there is a new extraordinary place to visit. For the beauty and the history of the palace that is opened to the public for the first time, the Bonaparte Palace built buy Govanni De Rossi between 1657 and 1677 in an elegant mixture of Renaissance and Baroque style where Maria Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte, Napoleon’s mother, lived for long years, from 1818 to her death in 1836. But also and mostly for the magic of the colours and the lights of the fifty Impressionist’s and post-impressionist’s masterpieces that are exhibited in the splendidly decorated Letizia’s drawing rooms.
Most of them for the first and, perhaps, the last time. In fact, they all belong to private collections and are just loaned for a few month. That is why they are “secret” even if they are all great name’s paintings - Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin, Seurat, Berthe Morisot, Caillebotte, Pissaro, Sisley…
They are all recognizable of course. The Renoir young girls beautiful portraits, the vibration of Gauguin or Pissaro landscapes, the warm atmosphere of Caillebotte’s little French towns etc... But they are also, in a certain sense, new for us. And discovering something new of a beauty that we already know is very pleasant. This splendid exhibition confirms that impressionism was, without any doubt, one of the greatest periods in the history of painting. And, even if it was built much earlier, the Bonaparte palace appears just the right place to admire these “secret impressionists”.
The visit of the palace offers also many other surprises. The beautiful fresco with a predominance of 2 colours, red and gold, a Canova’s sculpture (a copy, the original was taken by Wellington and can be admired in Apsley House in London) representing Napoleon as “Mars the peacemaker”.
A contradiction in terms! And a delicious “secret” place: a very curious balcony, or more exactly a closed loggia, on the corner of the first floor. It is there that Napoleon’ s mother, Letizia, used to stay for hours, watching what happened in the hearth of Rome, in the central Via Del Corso and Piazza Venezia in a complete incognito, nobody could see her.
You cannot miss this unusual roman rendez-vous!
Piazza Venezia 5
Tel 06 8715111
Opened from Monday to Friday from 9 to 7 pm
On Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 9pm.
Until the 8 march 2020.
We are a small family company and we are glad to share our local knowledge about our City with all the people interested in Rome.
Our team has been looking for the best places in the centre of Rome and neighbouring, where to eat, drink, enjoy a nice aperitif but also useful places like pharmacies, laundries, supermarkets and much more.
The results of this research combined with our local experience and our friend’s advices have been published on an interactive Google Maps tool where to discover about hundreds of places that will make your stay in Rome more authentic and amusing.
If you were looking for insider’s tips for Rome touring you found what you need!
Our map is divided into categories. Each icon indicates a type of service like the pizza icon indicates a pizzeria, the cart icon a supermarket, the cocktail glass a Wine bar/Cocktail bar and so on.
By clicking on the icon that interests you, you will see the information about the location, the kind of offer, the exact address etc…
Just turn on the location mode on your mobile phone and start your Journey to Rome thanks to our tips!
Just to let you have an idea, here are some of the locations we suggest on the Map:
Are you a meat lover? Do you want to cook at home? Angelo Feroci’s delicious butchery is waiting for you.
What about adding to it some fresh delicious fruit or vegetables in one of the fabulous Rome Markets?
Or maybe you prefer some Pasta alla Carbonara made by Egg’s Restaurant or some more sophisticated fusion cuisine in Casa Coppelle?
Tired after the lunch? Enjoy one of the best coffees in Caffè Greco close to Spanish Steps...
...or buy some exotic Teas in Castroni.
We really hope you will appreciate our tips map! Have a nice tour!
Do you want to discover strange but extraordinary places to visit in Rome concerning Vatican City?
Listing all the curious, hidden corners, not touristy in Rome is an endless enterprise.
Here you will not find the usual monuments, tourist attractions and discounted places for tourists, but a careful and entertaining selection of the most unusual 4 places to see, at least once in a lifetime, worth visiting in the Capital.
1. “The Keyhole Of The Door Of The Priory Of The Knights Of Malta”
If you want to spend a day surrounded by greenery, but also in culture you can walk in the magnificent setting of the Aventino hill, where you get out of the hustle and bustle that surrounds Rome daily, the area is in fact very quiet and silent. There is a small ‘surprise’ for those who want to enjoy a suggestive panorama : the keyhole of the door of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, next to the “Giardino degli Aranci”.
Continuing in Piazza Cavalieri di Malta there is the Villa of the Priory of Malta. If the door of the villa is closed you will surely find people in line. They are waiting to rest their eyes on the big door and look through the keyhole. Here you can admire a splendid view of the Dome of Saint Peter, which appears along the avenue of the Gardens of the Order, lined with trees. The view is really unexpected for those who do not know. It’s definitely an opportunity to take some special pictures of the “Cupolone” view.
The keyhole is in fact a perspective game that can make the view of the dome different from the usual, and exciting.
2. “The Cannon of the Gianicolo”
Climbing the Gianicolo Hill to witness the unusual rite of the cannon shot is a way to fully penetrate the skin and history of Rome.
This is where the magic begins: the terrace offers a spectacular view of the historic centre of Rome, one of the most romantic of the city.
In addition to admiring the busts of Giuseppe Garibaldi and the mythical statue of Anita Garibaldi on horseback, you can witness a rite that has been repeated since 1847. Whether there is rain, sun, heat, cold, snow or heat, it does not matter, there are things that repeat precise and punctual. Interrupted in several moments and during the Second World War, on 21 April 1959, on the occasion of 2712° Anniversary of the Foundation of Rome, the cannon resumed its activity.
It is possible to watch for free daily at 12:00 o’clock for a cannon shot that gives the start to all the bells of the churches of Rome, so they can ring in unison at noon. It was Papa Pio IX who introduced the blank cannonade to give a “standard” to the bells of the churches of Rome, so that they were univocal.
3. “I Centri del Colonnato”
The main square of Vatican city, St Peter’s Square, has not always been as we know it today. Between 1656 and 1667 Gian Lorenzo Bernini created, for the Pope Alessandro VII Chigi, the grandiose portico that delimits the square of San Pietro.
After several destructions of pre-existing structures, a new project was reached with many difficulties, which initially aroused fierce criticism but which later became a key reference point for modern architecture worldwide.
St Peter’s Square is extremely symbolic: the elliptical shape of the square indicates the universe; its famous colonnade, a large “embrace” to the city of Rome and to all mankind, formed by two wings of giant columns, distributed in multiple rows; the 140 statues of the saints offer mediation between the mass of the porch and the void of heaven, reference to spiritual meditation between the world and God.
Pausing on the colonnade we want to reveal one of its great peculiarities: try to stop precisely on the small circular tile located on the ground and look around: the 4 rows of columns will suddenly become one: this thanks to a brilliant optical effect created by the gradual increase of the diameter of the columns themselves.
This particular perspective can only be seen from two circled points, near the obelisk, on the floor of the square, marking the centre of the colonnade and from where there is always someone ready to admire this perspective miracle.
Moreover, crossing the square, it seems that the columns approach and move away creating movement, this happens thanks to particular geometric calculations and studies on optical effects.
4. “Piccolomini street”
Another spectacular optical effect linked to the dome of San Pietro can be admired from Via Niccolò Piccolomini, near the Appia Antica. Walking along this small residential street you can see the huge dome of San Pietro. From this point too there is a singular and curious phenomenon. The further you go, the larger and closer the “Cupolone” will appear, while if you approach, the dome will seem to be moving away… In short, another extraordinary optical effect that Rome offers you.
Have you ever been in a restaurant that has 500 years? More or less the same age as Leonardo Da Vinci, just to give an example.
The first time you enter in that historical place, La Campana (the bell), in a little street that has the same name, “Vicolo Della Campana”, in the very hearth of Rome, between via della Scrofa and piazza Nicosia, you are a bit impressed and intimidated. If you know the history of that “trattoria romana” , of course.
Probably a lot of tourist that walking in front of the restaurant open the door because they see through the glass that there is a beautiful buffet don’ t know where they are. They ‘ll understand very quickly that it is a special place with a long history discovering paintings and drawings of past centuries on the walls and the image of an old carriage with horses on the menu.
Once, the clients of the Campana travelled like that and when they arrived in Rome, that was a place to eat and rest before going on in their “grand tour” of Italy. But there were also al lot of habitués that lived in Rome, some of them very near the restaurant. Like the marvellous painter Il Caravaggio who lived in another little street two minutes from the campana, the “Vicolo del Divino Amore” (Divine Love), in the beginning of the 17th century. After him, Goethe who spent a long period in Rome between 1786 and 1788 and lived also in the neighbourhood, via del Corso, was also one of the clients of the Campana.
At the time of the Dolce Vita (in the fifties and sixties of last century), Federico Fellini and Alberto Sordi went often there for lunch says Paolo, the owner of the restaurant that was of his great grandmother.
The menu didn’t change from that time. You can still eat all the specialities of the traditional roman cuisine. Artichokes (carciofi) , porcini mushrooms and many other vegetables. Home made ravioli and gnocchi. Saltimbocca veal, straccetti beef, tripe, etc…everything “alla romana”. And for the dessert, magnificent home made “torta di visciole”, sour cherries tart.
An important detail of this especially pleasing restaurant: the servers are extremely nice as if they all participate to the unique secular experience of La Campana.
There are two exhibitions that you cannot miss if you are discovering Rome or if you are in Rome and you want to know better this unique city, eternal inspiration for so many artists, not only painters but also photographers.
Two extraordinary exhibitions of Rome photos are on in the Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi.
“Roma Nella Camera Oscura” (Rome In The Dark Room) celebrates the 180 th anniversary of the invention of photography gathering 320 photos of Rome from the middle of the 19th century, the time of the daguerreotypes (invented in 1839) and the last years of the papal Rome followed, in the 1870, by the beginning of a new page in the history of Rome, capital of Italy.
Then, half a century later, another drastic architectural transformation during the twenty years of Fascism.
And, finally, the nowadays Rome with new suburbs but also with a lot of green areas remained from the centuries when the ruins of the ancient Rome were henceforth surrounded by a rural landscape.
The exhibition will be opened until the 22 of September but consider that the photos are part of the Museo di Roma’s archives.
The other exhibition that is on in the Palazzo Braschi (but only until the 16 of June) “100 portraits of Rome” is perhaps even more spectacular because these photos were commissioned in the last years to the biggest contemporary photographs all around the world: Joseph Koudelka, Anders Petersen, Martin Parr, Tim Davis, Marco Delogu, Leonie Hampton and many others... Every one gave his vision of Rome.
Certainly one of the most beautiful cities of the world, but not only that. Rome has a very strong and very diversified personality so that every artist can find so many different treasures. In fact, every one made his very personal “grand tour”.
This richness is clearly highlighted in this splendid exhibition full of surprises.
One of the roman “must” is certainly the “Caffe Greco”, the oldest coffee shop in Italy after the mythical Florian in Venice. Founded in 1760 by some Greek that was called Nicola Greco (the Greek), this marvellous caffe is still in the same place, via dei Condotti, the street of the most luxury shops like Bulgari, Gucci or Tiffany, near the famous Spanish steps, in the hearth of Rome.
But the Caffe Greco is not just a very “chic” place to have a nice coffee and delicious pastries, it is a piece of history, a jump in the past. When you enter in a row of little drawing rooms with comfortable armchairs and the walls covered by 19th century paintings, you have a strange impression of being transported in the past. You can almost feel the presence of poets like Byron, or Shelley and Keats that lived in the neighbourhood (on the piazza di Spagna) and use to come often to the Caffe Greco. Before them Casanova was already a regular. And later, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Stendhal, Wagner, Ingres, Corot, Henry James…The Caffe Greco was a part of the “grand tour “.
Nicola Gogol who lived for years in Rome wrote on one of the marble table of the Caffe his masterpiece, “The dead souls”.
This artistic- intellectual tradition went on during the 20th century. Giorgio De Chirico, for example, had his table. And even now, amongst the tourist, it is always possible to find some painter sitting and working in one of the drawing rooms that look like the compartments of a an extraordinary train, even more beautiful than the Orient Express.
In these days, unfortunately, the future of the Caffe Greco is in danger because the owner wants more money from the “Antico Caffe Greco Srl company” that already pays a very big rent. Probably he had received some extraordinary offer from an important label. Fortunately, from the fifties, the Caffe Greco is officially considered as a “national monument” and should be protected by the ministry of Culture. Let’s hope! The lost of such a treasure is unimaginable.
A Devil Or A Cardinal?
In Via Veneto, very close to Piazza Barberini and Piazza Di Spagna, in the Capuccini church dedicated to Santa Maria Della Concezione, the picture of the first altar on the right is a representation of the Archangel Michael who kills the devil. The work is by Guido Reni. The artist surpassed himself: he painted the Archangel Michael so beautifully that many compared him to the Apollo of the Belvedere. But the best part was the defeated devil, whose evil ugliness emerged in every detail. The painting obtained unanimous consensus, a true masterpiece.
The only discordant voice was that of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Pamphili, the future Pope Innocent X, who had already reserved disapproving words for the artist in the past. The noble cardinal complained of the incredible similarity between the dying devil and him. Reni defended himself frankly:"I could not see the angel and I had to paint it according to my imagination. The demon, on the other hand, I met him several times, I looked at him carefully and I painted his features just as they are".
Who knows if Pope Innocent X learned the lesson: never speak bad of an artist, his revenge can be eternal ...
The Baptism Of The Knife
In the Pigna area, behind Piazza Della Minerva (Pantheon), there is a street that takes its name from a famous tavern that lasted until the beginning of 1900.
The Palombella tavern was the meeting point of Roman bullies. Here was born the so-called "cicciata", or "the baptism of the knife" for all the bad guys of the city. The cicciata was a real initiation for anyone who wanted to be respected and welcomed among the bullies.
The neophyte had to challenge an experienced bully with a knife. The target to hit was not a vital point, but the "ciccia", that is the belly of the rival: from there comes obviously the name "cicciata".
If the new arrived bully won the duel he was admitted in the bullies association and the initiation rite ended with a solemn drunkenness with all the members. When visiting the Pantheon have a look at Via Della Palombella and try to imagine what was going on there centuries ago!
The history of Carbonara is uncertain, mysterious and debated. There is not an official version recognized by all but many and various hypotheses about the birth of this delicious dish of the gastronomic tradition of Lazio Region, like the Amatriciana and Gricia.
There is a nationalist hypothesis that says that the birth of the Carbonara is related to the woodsmen who were producing charcoal during their seasonal migrations to the Apennines between Lazio and Abruzzo. They would bring saddlebags with eggs, pecorino cheese and pork cheek and they would prepare the pasta on open fires. In this case the recipe would be the evolution of the "cacio e ova" typically consumed by the farmers and by the woodsmen of these lands.
There is another (interesting) version that says that the recipe was born by chance during the occupation by the American troops in Italy, around 1944 with the introduction of bacon and lyophilized eggs. The legend says that American soldiers added their ration composed of bacon, cream and powdered eggs to spaghettis.
After the liberation of Rome, the dish became increasingly part of the menu of Roman taverns from 1946 onwards.
Carbonara’s history is complicated and uncertain while present-day Carbonara’s offer is much more clear and definite! That is why we want to present you a guide of the top 7 Carbonara’s in some of the best Roman restaurants.
Have a look to the Puntarella Rossa article from last year (still up to date) clicking here.
If you are in Rome before the 19th of August, you can also make a “ grand tour”, as it was called in the 18th century , in Venice (and even in London!) without leaving Rome, thanks to a magnificent exhibition that opened a few days ago in the Museo di Roma, Palazzo Braschi (with a view on the beautiful piazza Navona) : “Canaletto 1697-1768”, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the artist’s death.
With 42 paintings, 9 drawings and 16 books and documents, it is the largest exhibition ever held in Italy of Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, and especially beloved by the curious British travellers of his time.
Symbol of the 18th century, the venetian painter was a genius of the “vedutismo”, the painting of urban landscapes, at the same time realistic, with a lot of very precise details, and full of dreams and imaginations. Some of those “vedute”, when mostly invented by the painter, were called “Capriccio”. Canaletto whose father was a theatrical scene painter, was particularly inspired by the roman ruins that are the subject of many of his “capricci” painted when he was staying in Rome.
Nevertheless, his most beloved “model” was his native Venice, with his canals and palaces, the Ponte Rialto, the Piazza San Marco, the famous celebrations of the wedding of Venice with the sea on the boat Bucintoro etc…
But he painted also a lot of “vedute” of London and the Thames. And, thanks to this roman exhibition, it is possible, for the first time, to see a huge painting of Chelsea on the Tames that was cut in two pieces by Canaletto himself, probably to earn more money.
The left side, with the Chelsea College is exposed in Blicking Hall (National trust) in Norfolk and the right side, with the Ranelagh House, in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes” in La Habana, Cuba. Now they are together again, for the first time, in Rome.
The exhibited paintings and other peaces are from museums all around the world (National Gallery of London, Kunsthistorishes Museum of Vienna, Pushkin museum of Moscow, the Budapest Museum etc… ) and also from many private collections. But some of those are missing. For example, the Canaletto’s of a very special collectionist: the queen Elisabeth II. To see them you’ll have to go to Buckingham Palace!
The Museum of Rome, Palazzo Braschi is opened every day, except Mondays, from 10h to 19h.
Entrance: Piazza San Pantaleo, 2.
There are at least tree or four reasons to visit in these months the Ara Pacis Museum, along the Tiber embankment, on the western edge of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, in the hearth of Rome.
First to admire the marvellous roman bas relief, more than 2 thousand years old, that decorates the monumental alter called “Ara Pacis Augustae” build in 9 AD to celebrate the victories of the first roman emperor, Augustus (from 27 BC to 14 AD) in Spain and Gaul.
Second, to get a close look on the very controversial glass and travertine construction of a great American contemporary architect, Richard Meier that protects the alter. The Ara Pacis Museum is, in fact, the only modern construction that exists in the central part of Rome so that the contrasts could be disturbing.
Third, to see “The Ara as it was”. That means, first of all, full of colours, like all the roman monuments. Every Friday and Saturday evening, from 7h30 to 11 pm (last entrance at 10pm) the visitors can, with AR visors (Samsung GearVR) and the cameras that have been built into them, have a fully immersion in the antique Rome and assist with Emperor August and his family (that are represented on the altar, amongst other bas relief) at a sacrificial ritual through a film with actors, a 3d reconstruction of the Ara Pacis and computer graphics.
But that is not all. From the 7th of February until the 3rd of June, in the lower part of the Ara Pacis Museum, there is a very precious exhibition: “Magnum Manifesto”, that celebrates the seventy anniversary of the foundation of the famous photographical agency Magnum, in New York in 1947.
The exhibition has 3 parts:
Part 1: 1947- 1968 Human Rights and Wrongs.
Part 2: 1969-1989 An Inventory of Differences.
Part 3: 1990- 2017 Stories about Endings
It is possible to understand by these titles that the exhibition offers to the visitors an accurate and not at all trite historical documentation of the second part of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st. The Magnum members where always very concerned about what happened in the world and their watchful eyes certainly played a very important role in the recent History.
Museo dell’Ara Pacis
Tel 0039 060608
Opened from 9h30 to 18h30.
THE ARA AS IT WAS Friday and Saturday 19H30- 23h00
There is a magic address in Rome for kids: via Flaminia 82.
At the beginning of one of the ancient Rome consular roads that starts from Piazzale Flaminio (and finishes on the Adriatic coast), nearby the very central Piazza del Popolo, you can find, walking just a few minutes along the tramway rails, inside the old tramway deposit of the Borghetto Flaminio, a double surprise.
A magnificent museum for children from 3 to 11 years (with twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, activities for babies from 0 to 3 years old) called “Explora”. And also, in the same place, one of the oldest Neapolitan pizzeria (founded in Naples in 1870), the “ Antica Pizzeria Da Michele” that was opened in Rome last year by the descendants of Michele Condurra.
A double pleasure if you have children under 11. And even if you don’t! You’ll discover a fantastic place full of little Romans (that often visit the museum with their teachers) and little tourists from the entire world who play together. And then, you’ll enjoy your “Margherita”, “Marinara” or “Napoli”, the specialities of the “historical” pizzeria as did a few years ago Julia Roberts….a scene of the movie “Eat, pray, love” was shot “Da Michele”, in Naples.
The museum Explora has four sectors. The first is called “Me” and, to introduce the children to the mystery of life, recreates a mother ‘s womb. The second, “Society”, is a miniature town that has a supermarket, a post office, a bank, a petrol station and even a dentist. So the children can play and, through that, observe and experiment a daily life of adults. The third section is dedicated to the “Environment” with solar panels and waste recycling systems to teach the children how to respect the nature and their surrounding. The fourth sector is “Communication” with a television news show made by the children that interact with all the available materials and tools.
An unforgettable experience for your family!
“Explora” is opened every day from 9H30 to 19h30 except on Monday.
Tel: 0039 06 3613776
Antica Pizzeria da Michele is opened from 12h to 17h and from 19h to midnight.
Tel 0039 06 32600432
October is, for Rome, a very special month. Usually, in the beginning of autumn, the weather is beautiful: Sunny, but without the tedious heat of the summer. The best moment to walk around through the little alleys of the "centro storico" and the so many "villas", the public parks and gardens, that contribute so much to the "grande bellezza" of the Eternal City.
This magic moment of the year is called "Ottobrate Romane", an appellation that has a long history. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Romans used to celebrate the end of the grape harvest, often going in the country, around the city walls, eating, drinking wine, making music and dancing. These feasts, called "Ottobrate Romane" , were in fact the continuing of an old tradition: the antique bacchanalia, in honour of the god of wine Bacchus.
Today, these bacchanalia have a new face: the city is full of all kinds of events and celebrations. It is maybe not just by chance that the "Rome Film Fest" takes place in October (from the 26 October to the 5 of November) as, also, in part, the "Roma Europa Festival" (20 September to 2 December).
Much more that a real film festival as Cannes, Venice or Berlin, that are attended almost only by professionals and specialised journalists, the "Rome Film Fest" is meant to be a popular "festa" for the inhabitants of a city where the cinema has been always so important, the city of "Roma Città Aperta" (Rossellini) and "La Dolce Vita" (Fellini).
The movies, the official selection and others, are opened to the public, even with a free entrance in some cases. The Romans (and the tourists) have also a unique opportunity to see many stars and big film makers from the whole word, not only on the red carpet that is rolled out at the entrance of the beautiful "Auditorium" built by Renzo Piano but also participating to meetings whith the public. This week end, for example, with Jude Law and with Accademy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino. They can also discover the places where so many films were shot, the most famous Fellini's setting, the "Fontana di Trevi" (la Dolce Vita) but also many others. And, in the area of the Auditorium, organised as a sort of little village with restaurants cafés and a few shops, they can taste roman specialities at the "Trattoria del Cinema", the Rome Film Fest restaurant where the best "chefs" are going to surpass themselves.
For theatre lovers there are other opportunities in this "ottobrata" with the "Roma Europa Festival". It is an extraordinary shop window of the contemporary performing arts. Not theatre only but also music, dance, circus...from the whole world. Created 30 years ago, with so many locations in theatres and museums (like the MAXXI, museum of contemporary art, a few minutes walking from the Auditorium) the festival invades Rome.
In October, it seems to be again "Roma caput Mundi"!
One of the most magic places in Rome, especially when it is marvellously illuminated in the evening, is certainly the “Ponte Sant’ Angelo”, the bridge constructed by the emperor Hadrian in the second century, in front of his mausoleum, and the mausoleum called today the “Castel Sant Angelo.”
The bridge was transformed, fifteen centuries later, by the great sculptor Bernini who sculpted (he and his school) the angels. Castel Sant Angelo has always been a sort of work in progress and contains, in fact, all the history of Rome.
The best way to discover Castel Sant Angelo is crossing the bridge on the Tiber that has the same name and then, visit the Castel inside, not only walking around just on the road to St Peter. That visit is an unforgettable experience.
Especially now, because the Castle is, since the half of June, for the first time, completely opened to the visitors and the visits are organized in a much better way than before. It is finally possible to understand the significance of that monument that, at the contrary of so many others of the ancient Rome, is not just a ruin because during centuries it never stopped to be transformed and used.
At the beginning, in the 2nd century, it was a Mausoleum that contained the ashes, first of Hadrian and than of other emperors. Later, the popes transformed the Mausoleum in a fortress where they could protect themselves from the assaults of their enemies and that they could reach through an elevated long (800m) corridor that connect the Vatican with the Castel Sant'Angelo, the famous “Passetto di Borgo”.
The name of “Castel Sant Angelo” was given to the monument in the 590, during the plague. The pope Gregorio Magno had a vision of the archangel Michel putting his sword in the sheath to announce the end of the epidemic. A sculpture of the archangel was erected on the fortress. Te other angels, those of the bridge, came some centuries later…
The fortress was also a prison. In the 18th century Cagliostro was held in one of the cells of the Castle and the last act of the Puccini’s opera, La Tosca, takes place on the terrace of the Castel Sant Angelo where la Tosca, desperate after Mario has been shot, jumps into the river Tiber.
During the Renaissance, the refuge of Popes had very luxury apartments, decorated with splendid murals. But some of the paintings that we can admire now, for the first time, are much more recent: beginning of the 20th century, pure Liberty style, with military topics, because the Castel Sant'Angelo became also a military garrison after the unification of Italy.
All the rooms and the stairs of the Castel are now open to the public. All the visitors can also walk through Giovanni Sallustio Peruzzi's (16th century architect) Gate that leads to the gardens.
Another important new opportunity is the very sophisticated technology that is offered to the visitors thanks to some brand new Apps for smartphones with explanations in 7 languages.
Opened from 9h - 19h30h every day.
From 24 June to 17 September, from Thursday to Sunday special summer timetable until midnight.
The studios of Cinecittà were inaugurated 80 years ago, on the 28th of April, by Benito Mussolini.
To celebrate this anniversary, the studios are more opened than ever to the public with different exhibitions (opened every day, except Tuesday, from 9.30 to 19.30) , sets (ancient Rome, Jerusalem, Florence in the 1400) and didactic activities for children. Especially on Sunday where it is also possible to have a picnic on the lawns around “Il Caffé, with the Federico Fellini’s “Venusia” that is there since he shot his “Casanova” in the 1976.
Federico Fellini used to take the Via Appia Antica, the Appian Way, to get to his work when he was making a film in the studios of Cinecitta. It is not really the shorter and quicker way. With the underground (metropolitana) that leaves you in the front of the legendary address, 1055 via Tuscolana ("Cinecittà" station), it is much easier. But a walk across the most beautiful consular road of the ancient Rome, shadowed by maritime pines and antique ruins, as the "maestro" used to do, is an unforgettable, magic experience. Perhaps the best way to be prepared to enter in the "Fabbrica dei Sogni", the "Factory of Dreams" as he called Cinecittà, also known as the "Hollywood on Tiber", the place where all the mythic movies of the Italian cinema, but also a lot of American peplum (Quo Vadis, Cleopatra, Ben Hur etc.....) and other big international productions were shot.
Only a few years ago, if you were not working on a film in the studios of Cinecittà, you couldn't enter in that fabulous world. Now it is changed: you can visit every day, from the morning to the evening (at the exception of Tuesday), at least a part of the studios that Mussolini, aware of the importance of cinema (there was no TV or Internet at that time) for the propaganda, built in 1937.
A part of the studios were in fact transformed, these last years, in a museum where, if you like cinema, you feel in paradise. Surrounded by screens showing old movies in black and white, by fabulous costumes of the passed centuries (Cleopatra's dresses, Fellini's Casanova costumes...), stars photos, objects used in different movies, manuscripts of some screenplays... and even the saloon of a spaghetti -western.
Federico Fellini, who almost lived there when he was working, has a place of honour. The exhibition starts with "The Fellini Room", just near the entrance of the famous studio 5, the biggest one were he directed all his movies. Even the famous via Veneto was reconstructed in Cinecittà for the "Dolce Vita" because, explained Fellini, "in a studio, I can make the light exactly as I want".
You can see and hear him in a documentary projected on one of the walls. The others are full of his drawings, all dreams and nightmares that where the real inspiration for his extraordinary movies.
At the end of a peregrination in a sort of labyrinth full of images and sounds that makes you a bit dizzy, you can enter in a submarine. Exactly the same one that you see on a little screen at the entrance where you can watch a scene from an American war movie, "U571", that was shot in Cinecittà in the 2000...
If you choose a guided visit, you can also walk all around Cinecittà, going through centuries and continents, with houses and streets constructed in wood, polystyrene and resin, as everything that is made by the extraordinary artisans of Cinecittà. The illusion is perfect, you are really transported elsewhere, in another time. Exactly like you are watching a movie.
From the Etruscan to the Contemporary Art, Rome is very rich in museums. But, one of them, called “ The Museum of Rome“, in the splendid Palazzo Braschi, looking out on the jewel of baroque, the Piazza Navona, is a very special one that helps, perhaps more that any other, to understand the real soul of Rome. It is the right moment to visit it: a few weeks ago, the museum reopened all his 3 floors after a long restoring and restyling work.
Palazzo Braschi, with his entrance on the small Piazza di San Pantaleo and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, is a magnificent example of the neo-classical style. It was constructed between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. First, by the Pope Pius VI, for his nephew, Luigi Braschi. And that was the last construction of a Pope for his family, interrupted by the French Occupation of Napoleon. After a few years and the exile of the Pope in France, the construction went on. The monumental stairs and the chapel on the first floor are attributed to the famous neo-classical architect Giuseppe Valadier (that was Italian in spite of his French name!)
In 1871, when Rome became the capital of Italy, the Braschi family sold the palace to the State and the palace housed the ministry of Interior. During the Fascism, it was used for some exhibitions and other events by the Mussolini’s regime and the first “Museum of Rome” was opened (in an another place, rating the “Boccca della Verità”) in 1930 to underline the link between the ancient Rome and the Fascism.
After the war, 300 homeless families used to live in Palazzo Brachi until 1949, damaging unfortunately a part of the beautiful mural and ceiling fresco. In 1952, the “Museum of Rome” was transferred in the palazzo Braschi . It closed on 1987 to be restored, opened again in the 2002 and had a new restyling, floor by floor, these last years.
The museum is made by a suite of huge rooms, beautifully decorated by gracious neo-classical grotesque and other mural paintings, with a rich collection of sculptures, paintings, old photographs, furniture etc…on a thematic base: Portraits of the governors (almost of the eighteenth century), landscapes (almost seventeenth but also twentieth century), celebrations and games, photographs of destructions (of the narrow streets of medieval Rome) and constructions (of a modern city).
The paintings, even those of the end of the nineteenth century, show us how Rome was a small town with extraordinary monuments, churches and palaces, in the middle of the countryside. And this, not such a long time ago!
We discover how the Romans always loved “circenses” and celebrations. And also, that already at the beginning of the 19th century, Rome attracted many visitors from abroad. And so, beside Canova’s sculptors and Ipolitto Caffi’s landscapes, there is a delicious portrait of a little girl, miss Catherine Bishop, of Joshua Reynolds.
And that is not all you can find at the Palazzo Braschi in these days. On the first floor, there is an exhibition opened until the 7 of May: “Artemisia Gentileschi e il suo tempo”, “Artemisia and her time”, that of the great Caravaggio to whom Artemisia, a woman painter (a rarity in that time!), is often compared.
Piazza di San Pantaleo
Opened every day except Monday from 10h to 19h.