Wednesday, April 29, 2015



Housed in the Villino Andersen designed in the years 1922/1925 by the architect, sculptor and painter Hendrik Christian Andersen (1872/1940) who painted the frescos on the first floor

He was born in Norway and raised in the United States. He lived in Rome for forty-four years until his death

Andersen left everything to the Italian State and the museum is open to the public since 1998
It constitutes, with the Manzù Museum Collection at Ardea, the Museo Praz and the Boncompagni Ludovisi Museum, one of the institutions linked to the National Gallery of Modern Art

The collection includes more than 200 sculptures, of which forty large ones in plaster and bronze, more than 200 paintings, more than 350 graphic works, photographs and a library

On the ground floor there are two large exhibition rooms and the studio, on first floor there is the apartment where the artist lived

Among the works:

Bronze group of “Triumph of Washington and Lafayette” 1904/06

Bronze statue “Angel of life” about 1900

Plaster sculpture “Jacob and the Angel” 1909/11

“Bust of Henry James (1843/1916)” 1907, American writer who was a close friend of Andersen and also his lover, as explicitly shown by the letters they exchanged

“The collection is almost entirely centered on the idea of a great utopian 'World City', destined to be the international headquarters of a permanent laboratory of ideas in the arts, sciences, philosophy, religion, physical culture. To this project and to its dissemination Andersen dedicated in 1913 with the French architect Ernest Hébrard a ponderous volume (Creation of a World Centre of Communication, available to read in the Museum) which, starting from the urban concepts of ancient civilizations, should have indicated an approach to the new and modern 'City'“ (Web site of the Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen)

The art of Andersen represents an interesting and desperate yearning for peace, and expressed the illusory confidence in human capabilities on the eve of the great tragedies of the twentieth century caused by nationalism, which the artist tries desperately and unsuccessfully to exorcise

Tuesday, April 28, 2015



Formerly FACTORY OF PERONI BEER with an attached ice factory built in the years 1908/22 by Gustavo Giovannoni (1873/1947) and Alfredo Palopoli

It is one of the few examples of Roman industrial architecture of the beginning of 1900s, in activity until 1971

“Gustavo Giovannoni was able to achieve a difficult volumetric and linguistic balance between the architecture of the surrounding residential building and the industrial buildings that, it should not be forgotten, didn't have yet, at that time, well-defined and expressive typological characteristics” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

It was built on three blocks of the area of Villa Capizucchi:

FIRST BLOCK (Via Mantova, off Via Bergamo)
There is now a shopping center and private offices

SECOND BLOCK (Via Mantova, off Via Alessandria)
There are now offices and a parking lot

THIRD BLOCK (Via Nizza, Via Cagliari, Via Reggio Emilia)
It was renovated in 1999 by Antonio Simbolotti, Mauro Panunti and Francesco Stefanori and enlarged by the prestigious French architect Odile Decq (1955) to turn it into the main building of MACRO, an acronym for MUSEO DI ARTE CONTEMPORANEA DEL COMUNE DI ROMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art of the City of Rome

Works were completed in 2010 and the exhibition area is now 4,350 square meters (47,000 square feet)
The museum also includes a large terrace of 2,500 square meters (27,000 square feet)

The works of art in MACRO are cyclically exhibited according to themes that make it a vital and unique museum

The secondary branch, MACRO FUTURE, is in the former slaughterhouse in the Testaccio district

Monday, April 27, 2015



It is privately owned and it includes in 3,000 m² (33,000 square feet) 144 coaches from various countries of the world from the eighteenth century to the present day, all collected in forty years of research by the owner Romolo Apolloni

All coaches have been restored and are still in working condition

Among the types of carriages are landau, convertible, sedans, coupes, omnibuses (there is one with fifteen seats), chariots, stagecoaches, working wagons and Sicilian carts

Other 149 coaches are kept in an adjacent room

In the museum there are also paintings, models of carriages, porcelain, armor, helmets, antique weapons, antique toys and farm equipment

The exhibit includes also a set of harness for horses

Among the main pieces:

Sedan belonged to Princess Sissi of Austria
The Irish chariot used by John Wayne in the movie “The Quiet Man”
Some Roman wagons painted in 1800s
Coach of the 1939 John Ford movie “Stagecoach”
Napoleonic cart with cannon from the movie “Baron Munchausen”
Landau belonged to the bishop Karol Wojtyla later to become Pope John Paul II. He used it to go skiing in Zagopane in Poland
Small cart of the Italian actress Anna Magnani
Chariot used in the movie “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe

Friday, April 24, 2015



It was founded in 1804 at the time of Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800/23) with pieces from the collection of the Archiginnasio of the University La Sapienza

It was divided into three sections in 1932 including this one housed in the area of the Zoo in the building especially built at the time

The other two sections (MUSEUM OF ZOOLOGY) are Viale dell'Università and in Via Catone (ENTOMOLOGICAL COLLECTION AND MOTHS COLLECTION)

The museum includes the incredible number of about 5,000,000 pieces divided into five sections (entomology, malacology, ornithology, osteological and mammals) in eighteen rooms

Among the rarities there are three specimens belonging to species of extinct birds

The majority of the pieces are kept in armored cabinets, which guarantee the conservation in suitable and stable climatic conditions

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Alexandrine Room
1690 for Alexander VIII Ottoboni (1689/91) to house the prestigious library of Queen Christina of Sweden

“It is here that between 1741 and 1747 were initially arranged the collections acquired by Benedict XIV for the collections of the Museo Cristiano; and it is here that in 1749 an inscription still on the western side of the Galleria mentions what is for the first time indicated by the name of 'Vatican Museum': a historical museum 'of Christian scholarship' (as it was described by the academic community on the eve of its Roman foundation), ANTIQUARIA SUPPELLECTILE AMPLISSIME EXORNATO” (Guido Cornini)

Frescoes “Episodes from the life of Pius VI Braschi (1775/99)” about 1818 by Domenico de Angelis (1735/1804) and Domenico del Frate (1765/1821)

English “Cope” of 3 m (10 feet) in red silk of the thirteenth century

Clementine Gallery

1732 for Clement XII Corsini (1730/40) divided into five sections by Pius VI
Originally it was an open loggia

Frescoes “Episodes from the life of Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800/23)” about 1818 by Domenico De Angelis (1735/1804) and Domenico Del Frate (1765/1821)

Section IV:

Porphyry sculpture “Two emperors in the act of embracing” a work of the late empire

Section V:

“Two statues of deities of the cult of Mithras” second or third century AD including that on the left with key in fist and rooster at the foot, attributes later referring to S. Peter

Profane Museum

Open in 1767 by Clement XIII Rezzonico (1758/69) in order to keep the Vatican medals
Vault “Minerva and Time” by the Roman Stefano Pozzi (1699/1768)

Ancient and extremely precious bronze heads of Roman emperors:

“Septimius Severus (193/211)”
“Caelius Balbinus”

“Roman mosaic with deer and birds” from Villa Adriana

“Head and arms of a statue of Athena chryselephantine”



1932 Giuseppe Momo (1875/1940)

Balustrade with bronze reliefs by Antonio Maraini (1886/1963)
Giuseppe Momo as architect of the Reverend Factory of St. Peter designed many buildings in the Vatican

These stairs inspired Frank Lloyd Wright for the stairs of the Guggenheim Museum in New York

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



Founded by Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447/55) in 1451 and made “official” by Sixtus IV Della Rovere (1471/84)

The building was erected in the years 1587/89 by Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) for Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90) dividing in two, the Belvedere courtyard by Bramante

About 800,000 printed volumes, 100,000 maps and engravings, 75,000 manuscripts, 70,000 archival volumes, more than 100,000 separate original documents, about 8,200 incunabula


Gallery of Urban VIII

Decoration begun by Giovanni Paolo Schor (1615/74) and resumed in 1756

Two “Planispheres” of 1529, one by Diego Ribera, and one by Giovanni da Verrazano, in which the New World was still largely “Terra Incognita”

“Celestial globe painted” 1567 by Giovanni Antonio Vanosio (1535/93) for Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps
It was attributed to Giulio Romano for a misunderstood phrase written by Giorgio Vasari


Two Sistine Rooms



“St. Peter's Basilica according to the design of Michelangelo” and “Transportation of the obelisk in St. Peter's Square” 1590 by Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) and Cesare Nebbia (1536/1614)

Four tiny fragments of the moon collected by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission and given to the pope by the U.S. President Richard Nixon
They are exhibited near a Vatican flag that was taken to the moon by the same astronauts

Small Gallery of the Library

“Hebrew Bible” 1295 by the Urbinate


Sistine Hall

1587/89 Domenico Fontana 80 x 16 m (262 x 53 feet)
It was the reading room of the library

Pendentives and lunettes “Views of Rome”

Between the windows “The book through the centuries” and “Glorification of the pontificate of Sixtus V”

The decoration was directed by Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) and Cesare Nebbia (1536/1614) and executed by Paul Brill (1554/1626), Ventura Salimbeni (1568/1613), G.B. Ricci (about 1550/1624), Andrea Lilio (about 1555/1632), Orazio Lomi aka Orazio Gentileschi (1563/1639), G.B. Pozzo (1561/91), Avanzino Nucci (1552/1629) and others

“What Ventura Salimbeni had in mind was the unusual color effect, the originality in composition: he cared little for careful preparation and diligent execution. And since the enormous works done under Sixtus V and Clement VIII did not allow a careful examination of individual works, Salimbeni obtained the desired result: his work was chromatically distinguished from the other painters' and attracted the attention” (Hermann Voss)

The wooden cabinets of 1645 once contained manuscripts


Two Pauline Rooms

Prepared for Paul V Borghese (1605/21) for storing Greek codes

“Episodes from the Life of Paul V” 1620 by G.B. Ricci (about 1550/1624)

In Room II

“Machine to prepare papal bulls” invented by Donato Bramante (1444/1514)

Monday, April 20, 2015


Room of the Papyri
Built for Clement XIV Ganganelli (1769/74) in order to accommodate the “Papyri of Ravenna” dating from the sixth to the ninth century AD from various sources, of which however copies are exhibited

On the ceiling “Allegory of History” 1774 Anton Raphael Mengs (1728/79) ornamental decorations and frames Cristoforo Unterberger (1732/98)

Models of the “Truth Unveiled by Time” and “Two Charities” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for the Monument of Pope Urban VIII in the Basilica of St. Peter

The model of Charity with four putti was executed for the first version of the monument in about 1627/28, the one with two putti for the second version of the years 1634/39

Models of the “Prophet Habakkuk” and “Daniel in the lions' den” also by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the Chigi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo

Model of “St. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus” by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654) for a group of silver made in 1644 on the occasion of the election of Innocent X Pamphilj (1644/55)

The terracotta models kept in this room belonged to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Alexander VII
They passed in 1918 to the Italian state and in 1923 they were donated by Benito Mussolini to Pius XI Ratti (1922/39) as an act of reconciliation between Italy and the Holy See



Sacred Museum

Designed by Paolo Posi (1708/76) for Benedict XIV Lambertini (1740/58) in order to accommodate early Christian relics

At the sides of the entrance statues: on the right “Lysias” and on the left “Aelius Aristides”

On the ceiling “Triumph of the Church” and “Triumph of Faith” 1757 by the Roman Stefano Pozzi (1699/1768)

Above the precious cabinets in walnut finished with gilded bronze are placed “Twenty-four bronze busts of cardinals librarians” made in 1783 by Luigi Valadier (1726/85)

Precious Christian and non-Christian ancient pieces:

Glass objects from the fourth century AD some from Ostia, amulets, Roman rings, oil lamps in terracotta, Byzantine seals and weights

“Silver plate” with hunting scenes of the fifth century AD

“Reliquary of Algeria” of the sixth century AD

Early Christian and Coptic textiles including “Sheets of the seven Greek martyrs” eighth or ninth century

“Mosaic with St. Theodore” about 1200 icon for traveling similar to those of the monasteries of Mount Athos

“Chest for the Head of St. Sebastian” ninth century, formerly in the church Ss. Quattro Coronati
“Acquamanile” in oriental style used, according to legend, by St. Lawrence to give baptism

Sunday, April 19, 2015



Room of the messages to Pius IX

1877, the messages for presents received by Pius IX (1846/78) used to be kept here
Byzantine liturgical vestments and fabrics

“Frontal of altar and elements in silk and golden silver threads” from the mass vestments of Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605) woven as tapestries by Guasparri di Bartolomeo Papini of the Florentine Grand Ducal Manufactures from cartoons of the years 1593/97 by Alessandro Allori aka Bronzino (1533/1607) a pupil of Agnolo di Cosimo aka Bronzino

Important “Original Greek marble bas-relief of a knight” of the fourth century BC



Chapel of St. Pius V

For St. Pius V Ghislieri(1566/72)

Frescoes “Stories of St. Peter Martyr” 1570 by Jacopo Zucchi (about 1542/96) designed by his master Giorgio Vasari (1511/74)

Objects of the treasury of the Sancta Sanctorum of the Lateran dating from the fourth to the eleventh century



Room of the Messages

It used to keep the messages for presents received by Leo XIII Pecci (1878/1903) and St. Pius X Sarto (1903/14)

Early Christian and Roman glass and enamels, ivories and metals from Medieval to Modern times:

“Glass” of the fourth century with scale-like marine animals from Cologne

“Disk” with the oldest depiction of Sts. Peter and Paul

“Enamels of Limoges” with stories of Christ from the old Basilica of St. Peter

“Diptych from Rambona” tenth century, from the Abbey of St. Mary Rambona in the province of Macerata in the Marche region

The name comes from the altar of the Bona Dea, which was replaced at the end of the ninth century with the Abbey

“Ivory pyx” from Milan, sixth century



Room of the Aldobrandini Wedding

Designed by Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613) for Paul V Borghese (1605/21)

On the ceiling “Stories of Samson” 1607/08 by Guido Reni (1575/1642) who, during the same period, also the frescoed the ceiling of the HALL OF DAMES with the “Pentecost”

On the floor mosaic “Achilles drags Hector's body” third century AD

The room contains an impressive collection of paintings at least 1,800 years old:


Wedding scene with “The Marriage of Alexander and Roxane” also known as Nozze Aldobrandini (Aldobrandini Wedding) of the Augustan period found in 1605 by the Arch of Gallienus
It was preserved in the Villa Aldobrandini at Magnanapoli and since 1818 in the Vatican
It is one of the most beautiful and best preserved paintings that we have from antiquity

“Heroines of Tormarancia” third century AD found in 1816 in the ruins of a villa. There are various heroines of Greek tragedy represented

“Odyssey Landscapes” first century BC from the frieze of a room discovered in 1848 on the Esquiline Hill

“Cargo Ship with wheat” third century AD found in Ostia in 1865

“Processions of children” third century AD found in Ostia in 1868


“Garlands of leaves and fruits” from Villa Adriana in Tivoli

“Landscape and animals” from the Aventine Hill

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Sala Clementina
 Clementine Room

Frescoes on the vault and on the walls by the brothers Giovanni Alberti (1558/1601) and Cherubino Alberti (1553/1615) for Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605) with a decorative model of “perspective quadrature”

Here it is introduced for the first time in Rome the optical effect of the “broken” ceiling that will have a huge success in the incipient Baroque period
On the smaller walls “Stories of St. Clement” with a coastal landscape by Paul Brill (1554/1626)

“No one had hitherto ever seen in Rome or in any other place an illusionistic painting so big and so full of decorative invention. Indeed the Sala Clementina still represents the first example of exclusively illusionistic decoration of a large room, a conception that was later further developed by the Baroque style” (Hermann Voss)

The room is used for private audiences of the pope and here the body of John Paul II was exposed before the funeral



Sala Ducale  

Ducal Room

Two adjoining rooms that Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) joined together with a wonderful invention of putti holding a curtain open between the two rooms, executed by Ercole Antonio Raggi (1624/86)


“Grotesque decorations” by G.P. Venale and “Landscapes with Four Seasons” maybe by Matteo Neroni aka Matteo da Siena (active 1567/92) or by Marco dal Pino aka Marco da Siena (c. 1525/87)

“The strength of Matteo da Siena was in the genre of landscape fresco in which the landscape is placed playfully in the invention of an overall decorative larger set, thus assuming a role, but of secondary importance. His landscapes, therefore, express something characteristic in a few strokes, they had, in short, a narrative function. The landscapes of the Four Seasons have met with much approval thanks mainly for this feature. Without giving up completely to the traditional marginal accumulation of details in landscapes, they are still enjoyable thanks to a certain simplicity and to the unitary nature of the setting” (Hermann Voss)


“Landscapes” by Paul Brill (1554/1626) and “Grotesque decorations” of the period of Benedict XV (1914/22) who had also the terra cotta floor substituted with a marble one


Cappella Paolina

Pauline Chapel

1537/40 Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) for Paul III Farnese (1534/49)

It was formerly used for conclaves, now it is used for weddings

On the side walls:

“Compared to previous representations of the same subject, Michelangelo introduces an important novelty: we don't see just angels around Christ, but obviously also groups of men and women identified as an army of chosen ones who had already crowned the Christ of the Last Judgment. Around 1540 St. Paul was at the center of the debate between reformers and conservatives. To authorize the Lutheran interpretation of salvation were his own writings, which were undergoing continuous and painstaking exegesis. Representing around 1543 in the very heart of the apostolic see, in full theological battle, those who are sanctified by 'faith that is toward me' as the vernacular translation of the Acts of the Apostles of his friend Antonio Brucioli recited, was an iconographical novelty and a clear stance in the debate on salvation, which was occupying him at that time with his friends of the school of Reginald Pole, convinced, as the Lutherans, that salvation was assured by a living faith and not by the exercise of works” (Antonio Forcellino)

“Crucifixion of St. Peter” 1542/1550, the last paintings by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564)

“The beauty, strength and harmony of St. Peter's muscles set in motion a theatrical machine that in gestures and facial expressions tell the feeling without giving anything to the decorum, the establishment, the hierarchical character recognition; especially without giving in anything to the story as fact confined to specific age. Michelangelo comes to a spiritual representation placed in an eternity which coincides with the perennial nature of faith. We are, remember, in the chapel that Paul III wanted to be destined for the conclave. Peter's gaze was therefore turned to the cardinals who elected the pope and it was the first thing the newly elected pope would have seen immediately after his election. Then Peter would remind that pope of his Church, made not of armed and powerful people but of people touched by devout faith” (Antonio Forcellino)

Other frescoes on the walls:

“Healing of St. Paul in the house of Ananias”, “Fall of Simon Magus” and “Stoning of St. Stephen” 1573/77 by Lorenzo Sabatini (about 1530/76)

“Baptism of the centurion” 1580/85 by Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609) who also did the fifteen “Stories of Sts. Peter and Paul” and “Allegorical Nudes” on the vault