I know I’m weird, but my favorite piazza in Rome is the Piazza Farnese. I mean, it’s between the quiet and compelling Via Guilia and the raucous Campo dei Fiori. Not far from the Jewish quarter. A long and beautiful walk along the Tiber gets you to Testaccio, one of my favorite neighborhoods, gritty and mounded with potsherds.
Anyway, the big Renaissance palace that dominates the piazza, the Palazzo Farnese, is the French Embassy these days. You can’t just pop in to see it. You know, security.
The palace was built for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became Pope Paul III and commenced filling the place with art from all over Rome, including bits of the Roman baths. Most of what was transportable got transported to other places, so all that’s left are frescoes, compelling enough if you were to peek in, but what it must have looked like stuffed to the gills with all that art!
Well, this spring you can have a chance not only to get inside the Palazzo Farnese, but to see some of the art that “got lost” and is now found, brought back to give you a feeling for the real deal. The treasure trove numbers over 150 pieces.
The exhibition is scheduled to run from December 17, 2010 to April 2011. More info in Italian and French: Mostra Palazzo Farnese. You can reserve tickets thought the web site.
Here’s the NYT take on things: With New Show, Rare View of Rome’s Palazzo Farnese
And for a stay close by, I mean real close, I highly recommend Residenza in Farnese
Palazzo Farnese Tickets are available in the US through Select Italy.
We’ve also been working on a page on how to visit the Vatican Museums. Yes, a great stroll north from the Piazza Farnese brings you to the Vatican.