Ciao Bella!

The End of Culture

Cultural Week has officially ended and my free visits have tallied to approximately 20 national and comune sites. I filled my head and heart with art, and was only annoyed at the Vittoriano where the Chagall and Fascino del Bello exhibitions are "private", thus I didn't want to unfurl 8 euro from my pocket.

As I am in the mood for lists, below are my top 5 favorite visits of the week-- sites which should be seen for love and euro.

1. Ara Pacis
As I have written before, I love this building and I long for the opening of the rooftop cafe which most likely will never happen. This week, I was slightly appeased with the Enel-sponsored contemporary art exhibition. at tramonto, Angela Bulloch's delicious globe lights up and rises above Meier's building. The exhibition runs through May 25.

Addition: Settimana della Storia, May 21st through May 28 at Ara Pacis.

2. Castel Sant'Angelo
Quite a treat in the morning for a shakerato on the terazzo. The cinque e seicento painting exhibition (including some confiscated art) is a beautiful show. Guido Reni's Archangelo Michele from Chiesa di Santa Maria Imacolata (via Veneto) is on display, senza cornice.

3. Stadio di Domiziano
At the north end of Piazza Navona, under the bank, is the excavation site of the Stadium of Domitian. There is a small plaque with a phone listed to arrange a visit to the otherwise off-limits site. I have spoken with Fabio at least 18 times. We have never been able to arrange a visit. From now through May 27, visitors have free entry to the Stadio, where a "Made in Italy" show has been installed.

4. Museo Napoleonico
This was part of my Paris detox, since I had just arrived back from the City of Lights two days prior and had already begun planning my next visit. A lovely palazzo dedicated to the Bonaparte family in Rome-- his sister Pauline married Camillo Borghese to become Paolina Borghese, immortalized by Canova in his Venus. Favorites: Jeu de l'hombre (a contemporary installation until 20 June) and the unlabeled cast of Pauline's breast in the back room glass cabinet.

5. Villa Torlonia
Yes, the entire park is great. Casino Nobile, (aka ex-Mussolini crib), Casina della Civette
an on-premise Swiss Chalet/Dairy romp for the nobile Torlonia, and the park itself. La Lemonaia (the restaurant) was hosting a wedding. The Ozzies (my newly married friends) confirmed that the food was delicious. I liked the Falsi Ruderi (fake ruins), the burnt out teatro and the campo for calcetto. It was choc-a-bloc with people, perhaps not for the free visit but just to hang out.

Just as lovely:
Villa Giulia
Etruscan museum near Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. Mrs. Ozzie and I met for a shakerato at Caffe degli Arti and then walked down to Villa Giulia. Easy as pie. Though we did not have cherry pie.

Centrale Montemartini
Again, my partner in crime and art Mrs. Ozzie and I met on Via Ostiense, enjoyed some classical art, power plants and locals at the cornetteria on the street.