Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Art Nouveau for free in central Rome, thanks to capitalism

An outstanding exhibition of “Liberty”, Italy’s particular reading of Art Nouveau, is on display in the center of Rome at the offices of an Italian real estate conglomerate, or rather, their art acquisition arm, Fondazione Sorgente Group. 

Capitalists have replaced Popes in gobbling up precious art, and in this case we give some credit to the Fondazione Sorgente Group for revitalizing a 1910 building on Rome’s busy via Tritone, and providing spectacular exhibition space, at this time for “A corner of Art Nouveau in Rome” (“Un angolo di Art Nouveau a Roma”).  The exhibition has wonderful pieces – furniture, statuary, jewelry.  You can see them all at your leisure, as long as you don’t mind someone following you around at every step (and bring a photo i.d.).  We’d like to provide you with photos, but taking them is prohibited.  We include one (photo at the top) of the statues from the ads for the exhibition. 
Art Nouveau-ish even on the outside;
Doubt the "Sorgente Group" was there in 1910

The exhibition space, called Spazio Espositivo Tritone, was inaugurated in early June, and the building, called Palazzo Tritone, refurbished only last year.  We expect more exhibitions there in the future. The photos here of the building give you some feel for its distinctive early 20th-century design.

We felt sorry for the tourists being rushed by
 in their bus, not knowing what was around them
Hours are not easy to figure out, but they seem to be Tuesday through Friday, 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. through July 27.  Ala Rome, when we arrived, a colossal, 2-story door for a grand entrance to the exhibition was malfunctioning, and they asked us to come back in a bit (“un’oretta”).  We managed to entertain ourselves with our umpteenth look at the nearby Trevi Fountain, then (not yet, still some “orette” …) took advantage of a 2-for-1 offer after 3 p.m. at a bar up the street almost at Piazza Barberini, with Bernini’s famous Triton fountain in the middle, and then went back, when they were finally finished repairing the door, to the treat of the exhibition itself.
Happy comment on the "jazz" figure

Ah, and did we mention free?  – always a plus for RST.

The Sorgente Group (that’s its name in Italian, btw), is headed by Valter Mainetti (again, sic) and has over 20 managed and promoted real estate funds.  They own a piece of New York City’s Flatiron Building, in 2004-2008 bought and sold a controlling interest in the Chrysler Building, and this month bought the Fine Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles (one of our several "hometowns”) for $25 million.  Active folks, these. I tried to find out more about them, but their page was cancelled last year and I can’t figure out why.  Mainetti maintains his own url and blog ( will get it to you in English).  In the OMG category, they also own central Rome’s Galleria Sordi, nee’ Galleria Colonna, a lavishly decked-out shopping galleria, redone in recent years to its early 20th-century beauty (all those US malls that call themselves “galleries”, well forget it). Fondazione Sorgente Group is the non-profit arm of the conglomerate.
So, great art, up close, free, via del Tritone 132, Tuesday – Friday, 10:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m., and until July 27.

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