Rome can feel like one big museum at times. Whether it’s gushing fountains, unmissable monuments, or quiet frescos hidden on some vicolo, art is everywhere. If you’re lazy or cheap like I am, this can serve as a convenient excuse to pass on museums. Precious euros saved on tickets can be spent on a delicious spremuta or aperitivo in a piazza overlooking a church. Or a road brew as you stroll the streets that boast one great exhibit after another. But alas, it’s January. Shit is cold. Maybe not Polar Vortex cold, but not exactly ideal sitting-outside-shivering-for-the-sake-of-art weather. Get yourself into the warmth of a museum, I promise it’s money well spent.
With the festive season officially over in Rome after the Befana, you may think it’s time to return back to reality. WRONG! Escape to the mind-blowingly awesome contemporary creativity museum the MAXXI. Check out the Motion Matters exhibit which “Investigates … ways in which movement, space and perspective inform space and the way in which the visitors physically experience the effects of these three determinant architectural parameters.” Hmmm. I didn’t really get that, but the pictures sure make it look exciting and it’s certainly not something you’ll see on the streets of Trastevere. Or any streets for that matter.
If that’s a bit too much, the Erasmus Effect promises to be an interesting exhibit. Studying the effects of Italian architects abroad, see what happens when Italy exports one of its main gifts to humanity. Tickets are an easy 11 euro so won’t massively dent the wallet. If you can rally up 15-25 friends, congrats you could save 3 euro. Just don’t show up on Mondays, it won’t be open.
National Geographic is celebrating 125 years of showing the world cool shit before international flights were cheaper than domestic travel. Head over to Palazzo delle Esposizioni for a photographic journey through the society. There till the 2nd of Feb, get in while you can. Oh yeah, that’s closed Monday too. As a general rule, museums in Rome are mostly closed on Mondays. Except the Vatican, because their off day is Sunday for obvious reasons. (EXCEPT the last Sunday of every month, when entrance is free. But good luck going on a day which ironically sees a spike in the Lord’s name being taken in vain I’m sure.)
Museo Dell’Ara Pacis in Piazza Augusto Imperatore has some impressionist paintings on loan from the National Gallery of Art in D.C. until the 23rd of February. All of your impressionist buddies are here: Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Lutrec, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Morisot and Seurat, so drop by while the weather is crappy. Tickets go for 16 euro.
Lastly, if the above suggestions seem I don’t know, a bit too cheerful and happy for you, head over to Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini church. Question your existence, pay homage to the monks who gave their name to your favourite coffee drink and prepare to feel like you’re in an Indiana
Skeletons on Via Veneto
Jones movie. Under the church is a crypt divided into five chapels containing the bones and skulls of about 4,000 friars on the wall. If the morbid decor doesn’t send you into some existential crisis, a plaque on the wall puts you in your place. “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.” Yay, death! Luckily the crypt is on Via Veneto, so after that creepy cultural excursion, head over to Hard Rock Cafe and get yourself a burger and some nachos. You’ve earned it!