some 170 private palaces, academies, homes and other buildings will open their
doors to visitors.
weekend marks the city’s second year of participating in the global Open House initiative, founded in London in 1992. For art
and architecture lovers, Open House
Roma provides the rare chance to go inside everything from Rome’s first
skyscraper to the ancient foundations of Hadrian’s
Temple, not to mention to peek through locked doors and explore salons
usually off-limits to the public – all for free.
buildings include some of Rome’s finest architectural gems. A must-see is the Accademia di Spagna, the headquarters
of the Academy of Spain. A former monastery on the Janiculum Hill, the site
includes a round temple by Donato Bramante, considered to be one of the
masterpieces of the High Renaissance, and 16th-century frescoes by Niccolò Circignani,
nicknamed “Il Pomarancio”.
Built in 1576 and reworked in the 17th Century by Baroque master Francesco
Borromini, the Palazzo
Falconieri, on the atmospheric Via Giulia in Rome’s historic centre (today the seat of the Academy of
Hungary) is also worth a stop.
If you are a
fan of the Neoclassical period, don’t miss the Casino Nobile di Villa
Torlonia, a lovely villa in Rome’s northeast, designed by 19th-century
architect Giuseppe Valadier and filled with works by famed Venetian sculptor
Antonio Canova, his student Rinaldo Rinaldi and Romantic painter Francesco Podesti.
Fascinated by Fascism? Check out the Palazzo della Civiltà in the EUR district, built
for the never-held World Exposition of 1942, or the Palestra del Duce (literally,
“Gym of the Duce”, meaning Mussolini) in the city’s northwest. And if you want
a taste of something altogether non-Italian, your best bet is the Accademia d’Egitto at the
edge of the Villa Borghese, which houses Rome’s first Egyptian museum.
government buildings are opening their doors, too. Visit the 15th-century
Palazzo Madama near
Piazza Navona, the carefully guarded seat of the Italian Senate, or the Palazzo Giustiniani, home
to the President of the Senate’s apartment and where the Constitution of the
Republic was signed in 1947.
Want to see
Rome’s more modern side? Then head to Rome’s very first skyscraper, Eurosky Tower in
EUR. Its full 120m height is still
under construction (its 19th floor is open to visitors), but thanks
to its 27 floors of luxury apartments and use of sustainable architecture, it
just might be the most-talked about new building in Rome since the MAXXI, built by
starchitect Zaha Hadid and opened in 2010. Or see how Rome layers ancient and
contemporary at Galleria
d’Arte 28, a contemporary art gallery located in the 17th-century
Palazzo Cini-Ferrini, itself built into the 2nd-century Hadrian’s
museums across the city, including the Galleria Borghese, Centrale Montemartini, MACRO and MAXXI, are also
participating, meaning they’re free to enter (although some must be booked in
some buildings require advance reservations, most do not. Those that do can be
booked online; if no
spaces remain, visitors can still queue in the “rush line”, where they’ll be
allowed to enter in place of no-shows.
Amanda Ruggeri is the
Rome Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes revealedrome.com.