Culture Week in Rome (= FREE entrance to amazing art and culture) can mean big crowds and long lines, but if you’re looking for a smaller, less-crowded gem, we recommend the art collection at Palazzo Corsini in Trastevere.
Although not particularly well-known in Rome, the gallery in this palazzo features works by bad-boy Caravaggio, Flemish master Pieter Paul Rubens, the Caracci brothers, and Guido Reni, among others.
The palazzo itself was built for the wealthy Corsini family in the 18th century; its most famous member is Lorenzo Corsini, who was elected Pope Clement XII in 1730.
Marble busts gaze down at you as you walk up the grand staircase to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini, or Galleria Corsini for short (National Gallery of Antique Art of the Corsini Palace). Unlike most Roman museums, the collection is not so large as to be overwhelming, and each room contains helpful laminated guides that identify all of the works of art.
- Orazio Gentileschi’s baroque painting of the Virgin Mary and Child, faces radiant with life on the canvas
- Caravaggio’s sexy St. John the Baptist
- Guido Reni’s dazed Salome holding the head of John the Baptist
- Micco Spadero’s (aka Domenico Gargiulio) The Macaroni-Eaters (those of the lower class who ate spaghetti in the streets in Naples in the 17th century as a cheap meal)
- Francesco Cozza’s Penitent (Mary) Magdalene (which uncannily resembles Kate Winslet!)
- The room where the cross-dressing Queen Christina of Sweden–who abdicated her Protestant throne, converted to Catholicism, and moved to Rome–died in 1689
Where: Via della Lungara 10 in Trastevere
When: Open Sunday to Tuesday from 8:30am to 7:30pm
How much: FREE through April 17, 2011
Check it out!