Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, March 12, 2012

An Evening at MAXXI

A few months ago we spent a pleasant evening at MAXXI, the new modern art gallery designed by Zaha Hadid.  The tickets were free that night, and that helps, but we've also come to appreciate certain aspects of Hadid's design.  Some of the interior sightlines are pretty cool, especially from up high on the catwalks that cross the large lobby.  MAXXI is on the Flaminio tour in our new book, Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.  See details on the book at the end of this post.

Hadid may have had nothing to do with the casual, modernist pod-like seating that lines a portion of the lobby, but people find it irresistible.   It's still hard to find a particular exhibit or exhibit space; even the guards/assistants don't know where things are, and the directions they (sometimes) provide are usually wrong. 

We were able to locate the restrooms--restroom design is a recent interest of ours--and found them worthy in an unexpected way.  The interiors were fashionably modern and high tech in appearance: white marble and stainless steel in abundance. 

But what impressed us the most was the subtle signage.  The general sign, designed to lead one to the toilets (assuming you can't read the word "Toilet"), used a symbol we've never seen before; we're still not sure why the icon is leaning over backwards. 

The signs delineating the men's and women's restrooms were discrete to a fault.  We wondered if the legs/skirt motif would be decipherable to, say, a 9-year-old. 

Self-portrait.  See photo at end for "context." 
Later, we found ourselves inside the massive piece of the museum that juts out from the core (see last photo).  The reflecting glass offered the opportunity for a self-portrait. 

Outside, the mass of the all-concrete-all-the-time courtyard was leavened somewhat by the encroaching darkness, the broad line of people waiting to get their free tickets (photo at top), our peeks through the glass at the fashionistas (left). 

At the north end, by the grassy berms with giant artificial flowers, couples with young children were enjoying an unusual and magical play space.  We wish this part of the gallery were permanent, but we understand it was a temporary "exhibit," soon to be taken down.  

As noted above, MAXXI is on the Flaminio tour in our new print AND eBook,  Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.  Modern Rome features tours of the "garden" suburb of Garbatella; the 20th-century suburb of EUR, designed by the Fascists; the 21st-century music and art center of Flaminio, along with Mussolini's Foro Italico, also the site of the 1960 summer Olympics; and a stairways walk in Trastevere.

This 4-walk book is available in all print and eBook formats The eBook is $1.99 through and all other eBook sellers.  See the various formats at

Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler
 now is also available in print, at, Barnes and Noble, independent bookstores, and other retailers; retail price $5.99.

1 comment:

Toilet Features said...

That is SOOOO excellent! Great job.