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The false myth of a sleeping Rome in August is still strong somewhere but for those who really know Rome, August is one of the best months of the year. Unfortunately the line A of Rome’s metro system will only work until 9pm (except Saturday night, when it does until 1am) and only from Termini to Battistini. And yes most restaurants will be closed for a couple of weeks but we are sure you can find good alternatives as Rome doesn’t lack restaurants at all! Many shops will be closed for 3-4 weeks, but you’ll still find many other open.
And what do you gain from coming here in August? No traffic, few people around, no queues and 95% of monuments, churches and museums open as usual. Just to give you an idea of how alive Rome is in August we will now review some of the key contemporary art exhibits going on during this month. And the contemporary art scene is not Rome’s biggest strength, all year round….
Let’s start from the Italian capital’s most important institution for contemporary art: MAXXI. This museum hosts until August 15 a very complete exposition of Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of the country’s most original painters, especially famous for his Plexiglasses ( see photo) and Rags. Over 100 works from Europe and the US will give you a good idea of the creativity of this pioneer of contemporary art.
A comprehensive review of Italian contemporay art and design in on display until September 4. It is a selection of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s collection. These works are usually located in the Farnesina, the huge white marble cube you see near the Olympic Stadium, to impress diplomats and ministers from all over the world. We particularly loved the design objects of this small but very interesting exhibit. And we must not be the only ones since they extended it from July to September!
The other star of contemporay art in Rome is Macro, the city owned museum (MAXXI is a national museum) which is going through difficult times. Its 16 exhibits shouldn’t deceive you, they are actually mini-displays that can even occupy half of a room with just a couple of items. We advice you to pay attention to Tomas Saraceno’s Cloudy Dunes and to Esther Stocker’s Common Fate installations. The new building, of course, is also worth a lengthy visit. Don’t miss the terrace with a very intimate view of the area’s buildings, the bookshop and the cafe.
The National Gallery of Modern Art has a couple of showings running for the whole month of August. The first is about some of the key figures of Italy’s 20th century art scene such as Balla, De Pisis, Morandi, Mafai and Sironi. This museum has more than 90% of its artworks in deposit and they’ve recently decided to take out some of the good stuff for a few weeks and show it to the public so that we can also enjoy them! Their other event is about Giacinto Cerone, a contemporary Italian sculptor with a unique style. The first solo exhibit of this artist will feature ceramics, works in chalk, wood, plastic, marbles and moplen, his favorite material.
A free contemporary art exposition organized for Italy’s 150th anniversary is in the Andersen Museum and it actually goes back to 1911 when Italy celebrated her first 50 years with the International Expo. The works and the European artists of that event are on show again in this small museum, not far from piazza del Popolo until October 2, and will shed light on the trends and the atmosphere of a century ago.
From Europe let’s go to Lazio, Rome’s region, from 1911 let’s get back to 2011. In Palazzo Venezia, until September 22, 100 contemporay artists from Lazio, chosen by Italian art historian Vittorio Sgarby for the 54th edition of Venice art Biennale, will show their works of painting, sculpture, photography, video art and decorative arts. The same building also hosts a display of 100 modern Chinese paintings until September 15.
Last but not least, some of the best Italian design objects will be on show at Macro Testaccio (not open in the morning but from 4pm to midnight) and in Palazzo Delle Esposizioni for Italy’s 150th birthday to celebrate Italian creativity. “Italy’s Uniqueness” features hundreds of items selected in the last fifty years for the country’s most important design award: Compasso d’Oro.