From now until February 9, 2014 there is an amazing exhibition going on at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome that focuses on art and artifacts during the reign of Augustus. This exhibition recognizes the contribution that Augustus made in terms of making Rome a better city as well as establishing Rome as a major center for arts and architecture.
Of particular interest is the statue of the Augustus Prima Porta with its unique iconography, especially on the breast plate. This work “lives” at the Vatican, but it is not always possible to get such a close up view of the statue so that alone is worth the price of the ticket.
Like much of Augustan art, it is very political in nature and seeks to connect the reign of Augustus to the divine: a pattern that continued even after Augustus’ reign ended. We can see this in a number of the cameos and intaglios that are on display from museums all over. Other notable pieces are the Boscoreale treasures (these are at the Louvre so you might have seen them if you’ve been to Paris) as well as a plethora of statuary that shows the various portraits of members of Augustus’ family.
The exhibition is amazing and one of the best exhibitions that I have attended at the Scuderie. You will definitely learn a lot after your visit. Also, the signage is in both English and Italian.
How To Get There And Other Practical Information:
The museum isn’t hard to find: it’s at the top of the Quirinale: just look for the white tents/awning outside. To get there by public transport get off at Cavour (Linea B) or Repubblica (Linea A) and walk to the museum or simply walk from wherever you are in Rome (which I recommend since Rome is best seen on foot if you can manage it). Other options for reaching the Scuderie can be found on their web site.
Tickets cost 12 euro (full price).
The museum opens at 10:00 AM every day of the week (including Sundays and holidays) but closes at different times depending on the day of the week: 8:00 PM, Sunday through Thursday; 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday; 8:00 PM on holidays regardless of the day of the week that they fall.
Statua loricata di Augusto, cd. Augusto di Prima Porta, 20 d.C.
Musei Vaticani, Città del Vaticano
© Archivio fotografico Musei Vaticani
© Governatorato dello Stato della Città del Vaticano
Special thanks to the museum’s press office for providing me the photo. Please note that this image is copyrighted (see above)
The newspapers in Rome have been reporting a steady rise in pickpocketing, especially on Rome’s public transport. A policewoman was attacked by a group of women pickpocketers when she warned unsuspecting passengers that pickpockets were working the platform. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant of your belongings!
The Italian word for pickpocket is borseggiatore or borseggiatrice, for men and women respectively. You might hear the word shouted on the metro platform or on the bus so try to take not of the word. If you need to hear a pronunciation, go here!
It is a common misconception that pickpockets tend to work the major bus routes in the city frequented by tourists. The pickpockets also work linea A of the city’s metro because this is the line most frequently used by tourists to get to the Vatican, Termini, Spanish Steps and other important sites in the city. You also need to be careful in the piazzas, especially the Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, the open spaces around the Roman Forum and Colosseum and the piazzas outside Termini as well as inside the station. Always be vigilant! Pickpockets also work the squares at St. Peter’s, too!
Here are some tips for protecting yourself:
- Try to avoid leaving things in your pockets. If you have to, keep your cell phone and wallet in your front pocket. Take only what you need for the day and leave the rest of your things in the hotel safe.
- If you carry around a bag, leave your valuables in your hotel room safe if you can. Keep the bag close by and avoid getting too close to strangers. This can be hard on a crowded bus or during rush hour on the metro. Keep your bag in front of you and watch it at all times. Avoid distractions like checking your cell phone or reading a map: this makes you an easy mark
- Try to dress as inconspicuously as possible. Avoid expensive jewelry and flashy items that might make you a more attractive target to thieves.
- When you are waiting on the platform for a train or the metro, do not be so eager to be the first person to get on the train. Allow the train to arrive, the doors to open and allow the other passengers to get off before you alight. Try to keep your back to the wall if you can. Being the first on the train might get you a seat, but you also leave yourself open as a potential target for pickpockets working the platforms.
- When you arrive on the platform, proceed to the ends of the platform and avoid the crowds that tend to build at the mouth of the entrance of each platform. Fewer people tend to wait at the ends of the platform, and those cars tend to be less crowded.
- Try to know where you are going before you get on the train or the bus. If you are lost, you might find yourself too distracted to notice items being lifted out of your pockets, purse or backpack.
- If you find yourself a victim, you will need to go to a police station to file a report for insurance purposes. This is required should you find your passport has been stolen.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of dining at an osteria in Rome’s Prati district. Prati isn’t an area of Rome where I spend a lot of time, but there are a few restaurants there that I enjoy. My friend suggested this osteria, Osteria delle Commari, since he had dined there in the past to great acclaim (he is always raving about it!), and he surprised me by taking me there this week.
The restaurant isn’t your typical Roman establishment that is crammed with as many tables as possible. The space is well utilized, and I really like this. Also, even when the place is crowded, it is not so loud inside that you cannot hear yourself think. I really like the ambiance and the decor. They go a long way to making the meal more pleasurable. The staff go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome, and I really appreciated this.
The food… I am not sure that I can find the words to describe how delicious the meal was. The hostess of the restaurant is also a sommelier, and she knew just which wines to pair with the various dishes and appetizers that we ordered. We began the meal with a glass of prosecco and then this wine:
This amazing white wine went wonderfully with the sampling of dishes we had — my favorite being the cacio e pepe (a traditional Roman dish)! We enjoyed also some supplì, fried balls of rice that are combined with various ingredients and another Roman tradition and an eggplant appetizer that featured layers of eggplant, provola and tomatoes. We ended the meal with dessert. Below you can see the crema pasticcera with fragoline that we enjoyed:
The restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the Vatican Museums on the corner of via Candia and via Santamaura 43-45-47. You can find out more about the restaurant from their web site: http://www.osteriadellecommari.it/dove_siamo/
Heading to Rome and looking to save some money? Check out the Roma Pass. This pass offers free admission to two museums, discounted admission to a slew of others as well as free use of Rome’s public transportation system for three days.
Details on purchasing the pass (it currently costs 34 euro) can be found online. If you plan to spend at least three days in Rome, then this is an excellent pass for you. If your visit extends longer than 3 days, the pass is valid from the moment that it is used (either on public transport or when first used to enter the first museum you choose). So you might consider spending 3 days of your stay in Rome visiting many of the museums which accept the Roma Pass.
You get a free map, your transportation ticket, and a news publication highlighting what’s on in Rome as well as a guide that lists all the museums that accept the pass. At 30 euro, the pass is quite a bargain, especially if you plan to do a lot of sight-seeing.
The pass always for free transportation on the ATAC buses and trams, the metro (lines A and B) as well as the railway lines of: Roma – Lido, Roma – Viterbo (in the Roma – Sacrofano section), and Roma – Pantano. There are a lot of great sites on these railway lines, and free travel will make getting around Rome more economical. If your stay extends longer than 3 days, you could purchase another Roma Pass or simply pay the regular fair. Rome’s transportation is not expensive and quite affordable.
Remember, if you arrive in Rome on a Tuesday, visit your first free museum on Wednesday, the pass expires midnight on Saturday so be sure to get your money’s worth and use the pass once it becomes active. The pass “activates” from the moment it is validated. Also, the museum portion of the pass and the transportation portion are two separate passes. The museum portion is activated when you visit your first free museum; the transportation portion activates when you validate it before your first ride. Instructions on how the card works (in both English and Italian) can be found here on the Roma Pass web site.
June 2nd in Italy is the Festa della Repubblica. Even though it is a holiday, many museums and sites remain open since holidays are one of the few times that residents of Rome have the time to visit many of these museums. I received an email from a reader who had trouble purchasing tickets to the Colosseum for the 2nd of June. It is open, and I was able to successfully make a reservation.
This link from Coopculture seems to be the most reliable, and the one that I always used when I go to the Colosseum (I’ve been four times since January showing various friends around… I should get a job there I’ve been so often):
For more information about visiting the Colosseum, check out this post I wrote in January. I will reiterate that it is most helpful to pre-purchase your tickets with a reservation since you can skip the always extremely long line to get in. There’s a special ticket window for people who have pre-booked that is used almost exclusively for these types of ticket holders so your wait will be minimal at best. Judging from the tickets available that day, there will only be a few tours running. If you want a fuller Colosseum experience, might be best to wait until the next day.
If the Colosseum is not for you or you have been, then check out the Musei in Comune web site which lists information for many of Rome’s museums. The web site is: http://en.museiincomuneroma.it/.
To see the list of museums, scroll down a bit, and on the left-hand side, it says “Including”. Click on that, and you’ll see a list of the museums. Click on each one to learn where it is located, the hours, cost of entry and so-on. Musei in Comune also has an app for Android and iPhone/iOS users that has a neat map function to show you where all the museums are. You can find the iOS app here and the Android app here.
There’s also a possible transit strike on the third of June — the day after the holiday, too! So that might be an excuse to get out of Rome and hit as many of these museums as you can on foot for the day!