Are you heading to Rome?
Moving around a city like Rome can be tough.
Traffic, an unreliable and slow public transport system and the city's proneness to flash flooding makes Rome quite a b*tch city at times. Yes, I love it, don't worry, but I loved it the most when I had my piece on the side: Cholo.
Cholo, despite his Latino name, was not a Mediterranean lover, but rather my Japanese made scooter with whom I zipped around the city. Before he was stolen from me (twice) and stripped like a chicken wing for the illegal parts market, we were a kind of Bonnie and Clyde, Han Solo and Chewbacca situation. Unhealthy, but good for each other, and zipping around the city and surrounds with him made me feel molto local. And it was so practical: Cholo made it possible to transform an already busy schedule into an even more hectic one.
In addition to everything else I was doing in Rome (teaching, pretending to be boss like at a language school, writing a novel, having a social life etc.) during my five years there I also did a stint as columnist for kunstpedia (now artwis). Kunstpedia is a fascinating, not for profit organisation whose aim is to stimulate appreciation of fine and applied arts (but not contemporary arts).
Due to the lack of time in the face of all my other commitments, unfortunately I had to let it go, but a few of my reviews are still up online, and although some of the exhibits I reviewed are no longer, the spaces I visited are still there, and routinely put on some quality offerings in Rome.
So, I'll spare you the full run down of what to see in Rome. It's all but been written before. But if you're looking for something different and memorable, consider these..
The Andersen museum is barely known even to locals. It's a hop, step and a jump from Piazza del Popolo and the Villa Borghese, but it's another world. A utopia in fact. If you're in Rome I absolutely insist you visit (and then come back and tell me about how crazy the place was). My review here.
One of Rome's unsung gems in my opinion is its museum of Asian art. It's near S. Maria Maggiore and Termini. It's an old palace that's been transformed into a museum with a collection that is quite heavy on Middle Eastern and Central Asian pieces. Lovely, quiet place that will give repeat visitors to Rome an alternate angle.
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni is Rome's biggest exhibiting space, and holds blockbuster exhibits each year. This summer, David LaChapelle's exhibit is the talk of the town. It's in the city centre and worth a visit (with a gorgeous little cafe and courtyard to give you some respite from Rome's smoggy traffic. Here's an old review I wrote for Soviet Socialist Realism.
And, although the Orientalist show is no longer on, il Chiostro del Bramante is a must visit in Rome. It's in the historical centre, and in addition to seeing whatever show they have on, you can also visit the bar and have a glass of wine in the cloister. It's gorgeous. Here's my old review for Italian Orientalism.
Have fun if you're heading to Rome, and let me know if you pop into any of these places.
To learn more about artwis or access their amazing, online resources go here.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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