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Monday, August 28, 2017

More than the Trevi Fountain: Prosciutto, Palazzi, Prints and Paintings within a coin's throw.

The Trevi Fountain is definitely a Rome the First Time experience--and many more times after that, we think. So don't miss it.  (And some advice on visiting it below... it's not so simple these days.)

But there's more!
Three historic Renaissance palazzi, more than three free exhibition spaces, and great food abound in the small streets to the right and left of the fountain.

To fuel yourselves for fighting the crowds and police that now surround the fountain, try the mouth-watering, tiny prosciutteria off the piazza. I must admit I wasn't keen on meeting our family there, expecting something trending on Yelp or Facebook, with little local flavor.  I was so wrong, as the "before" and "after" photos illustrate. La Prosciutteria Trevi, via della Panetteria, No. 34,11 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Sonia Delaunay print
Now for some art.  The Trevi Fountain overwhelms everything near it; thus, it's understandable that three or more (depending on how one counts them) art exhibition spaces are almost on top of the fountain and yet usually quite devoid of visitors. Istituto Centrale per la Grafica - the Central Graphics Institute - is contiguous with the building on which the fountain is built.  Go along the street on the right of the fountain and you'll find the entrance on your left.  It has excellent shows.  We've seen many there - from Piranesi's fantasy prints to Sonia Delaunay's work.  Free.  Via della Stamperia, 6.
Piranesi - from his fantastica "jails" series.

Borromini's 17th-century frieze at
Accademia di San Luca, with an Ontani
sculpture in the niche inside.
This is one of several exhibition spaces behind the fountain. The main one is in Palazzo della Calcografia - an 18th-century building by Giuseppe Valadier.  A second one is in Palazzo Poli, with an entrance on the left side of the Trevi Fountain (as we recall), and which is considered to house the Trevi. Some of the space is devoted to a permanent exhibition of older print-making machines and explanations of the techniques then and today.  You might be lucky, too, as we were one day, to find yourself on the second floor of the palazzo and looking out the window right onto the fountain itself.

Across from Palazzo della Calcografia is the main building of Rome's exclusive arts academy - Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, founded in 1577.  In this palazzo, Palazzo Carpegna,you can simply walk in to see the famed Borromini ramp and friezes from the mid-17th century.  Prominent exhibits often are installed on the ramp and elsewhere throughout the building.  We've seen excellent architectural drawings by contemporary Italian Starchitect Renzo Piano,who also designed the New York Times headquarters in New York and the newer buildings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

That's Ontani in the shimmery pale blue silk
 suit and pony tail.  We caught a glimpse of
him touring his own exhibition
while we were doing so as well.

This summer the Accademia's primary installation is of works by an Italian sculptor and painter of whom we hadn't heard - Luigi Ontani. We found his capricious sculptures technically superb as well as fun and a bit bizarre. The exhibit is open until September 22 of this year. The building also houses a permanent exhibition of works donated by some of the famous members of the Academy, including Bernini.
Ontani's version of the lupa, Rome's she-wolf, with himself as the wolf.

Part of an Ontani sculpture channeling
Gertrude Stein.

Okay, advice on the Trevi Fountain.  Try to go very early in the morning or late at night.  Otherwise, it's a mob scene.  Don't try to wade in the fountain ala Anita Eckberg in La Dolce Vita.   There are police patrolling and pushing tourists to obey an unwritten code of conduct.  Eating lunch isn't in the code (see below).  Nor, for some of the fountain police, is sitting on the edge of the fountain. 
Trevi Fountain code police:
The couple is being told to put their food away.

Last photo - Curator and professor (Temple University, Rome) Shara Wasserman --she with the gold purse -- takes a group to the exhibition space in Accademia di San Luca.


1 comment:

Richard Peterson said...

I love the vigorous Baroque of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio, opposite, with its facade by Martino Longhi, Younger (1646-50). In via del Lavatore 38 is its monastery, whose vestibule and steps leading to the cloister are a fine C18 interpretation of Borromini's approach to design.