With its priceless ancient attractions, Rome boasts the best sightseeing in the world. Despite its worldwide fame as the ‘Eternal City’, Rome surprisingly hides a vivid contemporary art scene. 

Institutional art finds place in two of the most important contemporary art museums in Italy: the MAXXI (Museum of XXIst Century Art) and the MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome). Since the beginning, with it’s futuristic architecture designed by Zaha Hadid, the Maxxi stunned Rome’s citizens—and it still does—with consistently new and controversial exhibitions, giving space to international artists in dialogue with the permanent collection of Italian artists. 

The MAXXI by Zaha Hadid

The MAXXI by Zaha Hadid

The MACRO is currently reinstating itself, after a recent inexplicable crisis. It’s new 2017 season just opened with a great Anish Kapoor exhibition that will surely be an inspiration for the young artists in residence who have won the Macro’s annual residency prize.

Anish Kapoor at MACRO

Anish Kapoor at MACRO

Meanwhile, contemporary art galleries in Rome are doing a pretty interesting job, bringing famous international names to town in addition to displaying the work of young Italian artists. Apart from the glamorous Gagosian gallery, which is a brand itself, Lorcan O’Neill is the next great guarantee in the Rome art scene.

Adriana Varejao at Gagosian Gallery Rome

Adriana Varejao at Gagosian Gallery Rome

A brand new underground culture is finally offering an alternative scene that seems to be more and more appraised in the city. New galleries run by young directors fit very well into this, spreading throughout Rome’s industrial districts. Roman street art also has a good reputation because it’s gradually changing the landscape of Rome’s grey suburbs into a colorful and diverse art scene. 

Rome doesn’t have an art district, but it does have a district of artists’ studios. The so-called Pastificio Cerere in the San Lorenzo neighborhood is a dynamic place where art lovers can easily meet artists while they are working in their studios—a fascinating experience which is not easy to get anywhere!

- by Valentina Di Pietro