In the Italian capital city of Rome, we found the perfect balance between old and new. Historic and contemporary. One minute we were walking through the Villa de Medici and the next we were taking in the impressive contemporary art scene at some of the city’s best galleries. Keep reading to hear about how we spent 72 Hours in Rome and a list of our favorite arty destinations around town!
Checking in on Friday evening at Hotel del Barbieri set the perfect mood for our weekend getaway. The building was originally constructed in the 17th century and was renovated in 2017. Located within one of the city’s most central districts this cozy boutique hotel couldn’t be in a better spot!
Rome has a bustling Jewish quarter with synagogues and ample food options. For our first night we chose to have dinner at Al Pompiere in the Jewish quarter. Offering high quality traditional food we stuffed ourselves on tagliatelle and their famed fried artichoke. We then called it a night and went back to our hotel to prepare for a day of art touring!
On Saturday morning we met Oh So Arty local insider in Rome, Valentina Di Pietro. Her modern and contemporary art tours of Rome show a different side of the eternal city who’s grand beauty was built through layers and layers of history. We began our tour at the centrally located White Noise Gallery where we caught a solo exhibition of Spanish artist Jesús Herrera Martínez’s new cycle of works entitled “Taking Care of the Garden of Eden”. This emerging space had a nice program of exhibitions and a passionate and committed gallery team. We then visited the nearby Galleria Lorcan O’Neill to view a solo show of new works by Eddie Peake. The rainbow of colors in this show were thrilling to see in person and the gallery space was very beautiful.
Next up was the funky bohemian neighborhood of Trastevere. This is the perfect alternative escape if you need respite from tourist venues like the Trevi fountain and Colosseum. Valentina took us to T293 Gallery to see Claire Fontaine’s powerful solo show ‘Tutto e commune’ or ‘Everything is Connected’. Next up was Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, originally a New York insitution, which opened a in Rome a few years ago in an 8th-century church named Sant’Andrea de Scaphis at Via dei Vascellari 69 in the Trastevere neighborhood. The juxtaposition of this old architecture with radical contemporary art makes for a very exciting visual experience.
We then made our way to the San Lorenzo neighborhood. This is where the university is located and so it’s very full of life and vibrant. We took a brief coffee break at the hip eatery Fauno 3.0. Then Valentina used her insider connections to take us on studio visits around the neighborhood. First up was the established artist Pietro Ruffo. His work is primarily concerned with exploring the nature of freedom and offers important social commentary with beautiful aesthetics. Next was the studio of emerging artist Leonardo Petrucci who studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. We are so grateful to Valentina, Pietro and Leonardo as well as the galleries and other artists we met for opening their doors to us and sharing an arty side of Rome not typically available to travelers. After a long day of exploring Rome’s arty side the only thing left to do was grab some sweets at Gelateria Dei Gracchi!
For dinner we feasted at Al Gran Sasso which served up traditional Roman food and homemade pasta!
We began our last day at the National Museum of 21st Century Arts or MAXXI. The striking modernist building was designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid. This institution is the first Italian national institution dedicated to contemporary art. It was founded in 2009 as a laboratory for cultural experimentation and innovation.
You can’t visit Rome without indulging in some pizza! So after touring MAXXI we visited Bonci Pizza infamous for their Roman-style pizza al Taglio. They create a variety of one of a kind pizzas that change frequently based on availability of the freshest ingredients.
For our last Roman sunset we visited the gardens at the Villa Medici. We recommend taking their tour at magic hour (around 6 pm) to see the beautiful golden light that’s cast on the villa and the gardens. The view of the surrounding city is one of the best.