Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rome gallery-hopping better than ever

All I can say is Wow (or Mamma Mia)! It's as good as we remember. Last night we did the gallery-hopping/vernissage we recommend in Chapter 6 of Rome the Second Time. We lucked into the unfortunately-named "Freaky Friday" (yup, in English): private galleries open 'til midnight around the city. We hit about a dozen of them - some planned [we focused on areas where we could walk to 3 or 4 galleries at a time, e.g. near Chiesa Nuova] and some merely encountered on our way.

Gagosian's ( was jammed beyond even our expectations - crowds of several hundred (see photo at left) threatening a half dozen of Anselm Kiefer's sculptures, each completely inadequately protected by a large man. Even the usually nonplussed garbage truck drivers were amazed by the crowds blocking the street. A scene, to be sure: fur coats, "suits," brown-is-the-new-black, the works...

At the other end, and perhaps our favorite of the night, an evocative "recreation" of Nikola Tesla's Room 3327 in the New Yorker Hotel, where the Serbian-American scientist (1856-1943), considered the patron saint of electricity, lived ascetically. The artist, a graduate in electronic music from a famous Rome conservatory, set up machines emitting sounds, some generated by visitors to Motelsalieri (information at The "gallery," though on a much smaller scale than Gagosian's, was crowded too, this time with 30-somethings (all in black)... We drank in the wine (see photo at right) and the scene from the street - where leaning agaist double-parked cars is the thing to do.

Other evening highlights included a show on the theme of nude paintings (complete with organza (only)-clad woman reading love poems) at Galleria Marino ( near the Spanish Steps, a chat with young Swiss artist Kaspar Bucher, whose sculptures remind us of Jeff Koons's, at Studio Trisorio ( near Piazza Navona; and large photographs (admittedly priced even beyond our fantasy range) at stylish - and friendly - Romberg Art ( click on the British flag) on Piazza dei Ricci, near Chiesa Nuova.

On the vernissage front, we're happy to report lots of wine (none at Gagosian's, of course), but not a lot of food....

If you're here in Rome, all of these shows continue for some time. Information most easily available in Roma C'e' and in ArtGuide - online at (you don't need English to read addresses, dates, and times - just don't count on them being open when they say).

And, even for Rome the 50th time, we find walking in the Center among all these galleries, monuments, history, people - to be thoroughly intoxicating and fulfilling - who needs wine and food?

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