Art & Culture (le cose belle) / Happening Now (quel che succede oggi) / Historical Sites (l'antichità) / Music & Nightlife (dove c'è la musica è tutto bello)

What to do on a summer evening in Rome, or: a concert in Borromini’s courtyard

Church of S. Ivo

There are few ways that a man can win immortality, but if this can be done, then music is indubitably one of the chosen means.

In 1944, Maestro Franco Ferrara conducted a stunningly successful concert in the 17th-century courtyard of Borromini’s Church of Sant’Ivo for a newly liberated Rome. Now, seventy-one years later, and thirty years after his death, his pupil Francesco Carotenuto holds the 34th concert season of the International Chamber Ensemble here, in his honor. The 2015 edition offers an array of music which combines classic orchestra from the greats with tangos and more modern artists like the Beatles, as well as a few nights dedicated to classic movie soundtracks.

I know sometimes this city can make the easiest things difficult. But then, on occasion, she takes things that would be worth a valiant effort, and presents them to you as a gift. Yesterday evening’s opening concert, listening to everything from Bach to Moon River under a night sky dominated by the Baroque dome of Sant’Ivo felt like nothing less than a grand gesture from this city, and every moment, from the last note of a song to the split second of total silence afterwards, to the thunderous applause when conductor Carotenuto dropped his arms, felt as though we were all, for a few hours at least, existing in a fairy tale. This morning I woke up with music still in my ears.

The best part of this fairy tale is that it is completely affordable for everyone (full ticket prices are 20 euro, with discounts for students and seniors). You can check out their program and get tickets right here.

Things to remember:

* The program runs from 11 July – 11 August 2015, so unless you want to wait until next year, you probably want to get your tickets as soon as possible!

*Seats are not assigned, so mark your territory as soon as you sweep inside, so that you don’t end up sitting in the back or behind an incredibly tall woman with a polka-dotted dress who spends the entire evening swaying her head back and forth. Just hypothetically.

*Eat before you go. The concert is a few hours long, and if you make the mistake of not taking care of the basics a priori, the second part of the concert will also be full of plates of amatriciana and carbonara dancing away in front of your eyes. Also hypothetical. If you’re hungry when you get out, try Maccheroni in Piazza delle Coppelle by the Pantheon, a 5-minute walk from the courtyard – it’s open late and has great pasta dishes. We wound up the night there with amatriciana and sorbetto, because music is hungry business!

“…the music will still be wonderful.” (Vonnegut)


Image courtesy of International Chamber Ensemble

Image courtesy of International Chamber Ensemble


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