Sunday, June 25, 2017

200 Views of Rome: Palazzo Altemps


5 Stars

There is a place in Rome, connected I think to the Capitoline Museum, where they took a bunch of that classical sculpture and put it in something of a giant old factory full of lumbering, Metropolis style industrial machinery. This sounded very intriguing. I made many plans for heading there to view this compelling mashup.

But I was only in Rome for 30 days. And this place, the Centrale Montemartini, was nearly two whole miles from our apartment near the Pantheon. It was absolutely impossible. Who could venture so far? What good could ever come to us more than a mile from our dear Pantheon?

So I struck it off the list. And the twinge of regret I felt might have come to something unpleasant, might have led us into rash journeys, if it weren't for the fact that someone had tried a bit of this genre mashup already. And it was blessedly only a two minute walk from the front door of our apartment. Palazzo Altemps. They took a Renaissance Palazzo and stuffed it full of Roman statues.

Palazzo Altemps was on my list too, but not very high up or with much enthusiasm. It cost money. It was Renaissance and Classical rather than say, Baroque or Modern. It didn't photograph that well either and so gave no impression of its wonders, which can be subtle and strange and alchemical and peaceful. Oh I like the peaceful wonders in Rome.

But I might never have known until one day we went to the Palazzo Massimo. The ticket to get in there gave us tickets for Palazzo Altemps. So, the next day, since it was practically in our neighborhood, I took us there.

Ancient glass, frescoes under frescoes and painted wooden ceilings. Palaces built on palaces built on, who knows what, but they are digging down to find out. Roman sculpture looming in bright, lovely rooms with the vestiges of elaborate decoration. No crowds, pleasant views out the window, and small surprises around every corner.

Oh yes, that's Palazzo Altemps.

Go slow. Don't take Rome for granted. Forget pictures. Don't travel more than a mile from your door. Have a negroni every night. Eat Roman fruit. Always, always check out the ceilings. Remember, If there's a crowd it might be something really good, but if there's hardly anyone around it might even be better.

And if "Palazzo" is in the title of the attraction, go.


  1. I think this is my favorite sentence so far in all your posts that I've read: "Remember, If there's a crowd it might be something really good, but if there's hardly anyone around it might even be better."

    Excellent advice.


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