Last Stop Before Home
After 3 weeks of backpacking our way through Italy in the summer of 2012, Rome was to be our final destination of exploration before we boarded the bus off towards ITALIAN/Franca’s UNESCO hometown of Alberobello for a few weeks of downtime, the arrival of a newborn nephew & a marriage of two great friends.
Rome being so vast at it’s centre & it’s suburbs spreading for miles & miles in every direction, we gave ourselves vast amounts of time to try and cover all of the bases of interest that we travel for.
You may like to read: 10 Unusual Things To Do in Rome
We were to take in all of the normal sights – mainly for my satisfaction as Franca had been to Rome thrice before – but also try to seek and discover a healthy mixture of the historical & contemporary architecture we’ve begun to enjoy, some of the broad selection of classic Italian art on display whilst enjoying what the Roman’s produce from day to day on the streets and in the markets, and also, trying to catch some music if time permits & seeking out some designers who’d care to share their work.
Architecture? Check Art? Check & Check
Throw a ball in any direction & it’s bound to hit a historical building or piece of art, if it doesn’t it will soon bounce off, roll & hit another just a few feet away.
Finding classic buildings to go “wow!” at is incredibly easy, the same too can be said for magnificent artworks as well. From time to time, however, you start to believe that there is nothing else, that new architecture doesn’t exist in Italy’s capital – and that’s how we started to feel too; so when we began to discuss with our local-living friends about where ‘New Rome’ was being built, and where we could find Rome’s current equivalents of Mancini, Da Vinci & Schifano.
Fast Thinking Friend
Luckily, with our friends being quite the art-minded friends we like to keep; we were given the best advice on the specific location of Italy’s first dedicated museum located right in Rome – The National Museum of 21st Century Art or, in short, the MAXXI
Designed by Zaha Hadid – architect behind the bold Evelyn Grace Academy & ‘Jaws-like’ Eli & Edythe Broad Art Musuem – this modern architectural masterpiece is the perfect showcase for the art & architecture that’s forming in turn of the century Italy. In a world where the building containing art must be an art piece itself, the MAXXI & surrounding area don’t fail to disappoint.
On arriving at the MAXXI you find yourself amongst the art from the start. The outside area has since the beginning been used as a further showcase for the larger pieces of art that can’t be contained between four walls, and also for the Young Architect Program which runs every year connected artists around the world.
Walking beneath the swaying of the brown “leg” sticking out near the main entrance was a wonder as the wind that swirls around the building plays with the ‘hair’ making it swish & sigh like the wind does across a wheat field – beautiful & sends you sleepy like the sound of the beating rain.
On entering the the MAXXI, we purchased our tickets eagerly & found out that we could take as many pictures of the buildi -ngs corridors as we’d like, just not of the gallery itself – bugger.
Whilst I appreciate the protection of the property & copyright of an artists work, in this modern age, the possibility to showcase to our friends & families the great pieces of art we see acts more as a free piece of advertising for the galleries, not as a way of stopping people visiting. And as for the possible copying and re-selling? The job of finding a photo of anything on the internet is easy, and should I choose to sell a picture of someone elses work, does it not help propel the general admiration of said artist?
Anyway, save that for another day…
Inside the MAXXI
Even before entering the galleries themselves I was really enjoying the building taking picture after picture along the way. Minimal, but not too basic, the building consists of a number of main gallery rooms open all year round, a number of exhibition rooms which host differing exhibits throughout the year on variable subjects, an auditorium and also a large cafe area, bookshop & library/reference area.
As previously mentioned, we weren’t able to photograph the wondrous pieces of painted & sculptured art we saw, but notably, amongst the stunning pieces by Anish Kapoor & others was a collection by the Anglo-Brazilian couple Lucy & Jorge Orta which stimulated our travelling minds.
The regular collection is fantastic, the rotating exhibitions were magnificent too, but what sold the whole experience for me was how the building made me feel.
I spent the time transversing the walkways & corridors between rooms exploring & taking pictures of the building. Being in museums & galleries always brings out the best of whatever artistic nature I possess – if anything. I took shot after shot & the same has been happening in almost every museum & gallery we’ve visited since the MAXXI, but the MAXXI was one of the most inspiring of note.
Here are some of my favourite shots (and ddangles) from the day which barely show how great the building feels once inside.
How To Find –
Metro/Tram – By far the easiest route would be to take the metro to Flaminio Station (near the Piazza del Popolo), followed by boarding Tram No.2 disembarking after two stops at Apollodoro. From there there should be posters/signs leading the way.
MAXXI itself lists the following buses as alternatives, but the metro>tram route was perfect for us.
Buses – Take any bus numbered 53, 217, 280, 910 & ask the driver if unsure where to get off, failing that, there are bound to be other people on the route you can ask.
Groups (15-20ppl) & Students Under 26: €8/£6.50/$10.50
People With Disabilities (including companion): Free
Kids Under 14: Free
Value For Money –
HIGH – Taking personal favor out of the equation, there is enough art & architecture here to keep any fan of either happy, regardless of the high ticket price. We could have spent much longer here than the 3/4 hours we did had another of the galleries not been closed the previous day for renovation.
Plus, if travelling as a family, kids go free; always a bonus.
Location Address & Map –
MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts
Via Guido Reni, 4/A
View ‘MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts’ in a larger map
We both loved the MAXXI. And if we were giving out stars, MAXXI would take all five out of five.
On yet another occasion where we’ve not been permitted to take photographs to really show the magnificence of the artwork on offer – even if we’d been able to – there is no true way of showing just how great a combination of art & architecture museum the MAXXI is, the best thing is to go yourself, even for half a day & to hide from the sun, and see for yourself what the MAXXI means to you.
The MAXXI stands as one of my all-time favorite destinations, and should we ever decided to reside in Rome for any length of time, I’d be sure to sign up for a year long membership to come & go as I please at the numerous exhibitions, talks & showcases that happen throughout the year.
I can’t wait to return.