FAI, Italy’s National Trust, opens the doors of landmarks usually closed to the public on March 22-23.
Free of charge, you have guided tours of 6 locations in Rome and 2 near the Eternal City.
This year’s theme of the Open Spring Days is the bi-millenary anniversary of Augustus.
The Forum of Augustus, a section of the Roman Forum built under his rule, includes a wide square and the most important temple wanted by Rome’s first emperor. It was the quintessential propaganda venue, where Augustus’ deeds were celebrated.
The Mausoleum of Augustus has been closed for decades. The last time FAI opened it to the public was in 1994. It’s Augustus monumental grave (the biggest of the Ancient Roman World) and dominates the whole square with its round shape. Furthermore, it has a very fascinating and troubled story.
The Theatre of Marcello is also closed to the public. It was dedicated by Augustus to his favorite nephew who died very young. It became the model for countless theatres all over the Empire. The visit will take you to the second level of the theatre.
But FAI landmarks are not only ancient Roman ones. The Weapons House in Rome’s monumental sport complex Foro Italico is a masterpiece of rationalistic architecture inaugurated in 1939 by Mussolini himself as the Fascist Fencing Academy and will also feature fencing performances on Saturday.
In Southern Rome you can visit the Banknote Museum of the Bank of Italy, something we had ever heard of before reading about FAI’s 2014 Open Days because it was never ever opened to the general public. It displays Italian coins from Monarchy to the Euro and is located where the Italian portion of euro banknotes are actually printed.
Also in Southern Rome, but in the EUR borough, is the EUR Inc. headquarters, a lavishly decorated building imbibed with Fascist propaganda, featuring a monumental fountain and an anti-aircraft bunker.
Out of Rome you can enjoy the Villa Gregoriana Park in Tivoli, which is actually always open to the public and is not comparable to the archaeological beauty of Villa Adriana or the artistic and architectural attractions of Villa d’Este. And the Torre in Pietra Castle, near Fiumicino, close to Rome’s main airport, built in 1254 for a Roman aristocratic family.