Crowds of tourists visit the thundering Trevi Fountain in Rome on a daily basis, but few visitors are aware of an elegant Art Nouveau courtyard that is located nearby. Constructed in the late 19th century by the wealthy Sciarra family, Galleria Sciarra has served as a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare for Italians who live and work in Rome.
Initially designed to be a shopping center, Galleria Sciarra features a vaulted ceiling constructed out of glass and cast iron. The towering walls of Galleria Sciarra are adorned with ornate paintings by the painter Giuseppe Cellini that pay homage to the strength, beauty, and wisdom of women. The paintings celebrate the virtues of Justice, Fidelity, Patience, and Strength—which Giuseppe Cellini believed were among the finest traits that women possess.
Galleria Sciarra features plenty of curved flourishes and plant-like ironwork which is typical of the Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau celebrated lines that are abundant in the natural world, such as rounded shapes that mimic flower petals and plant stems. Depictions of elegant men and women in 19th-century dress, flanked by bright shades of red, blue, and gold, create an arresting tableau that is unlike any other public artwork in Rome.
The fanciful paintings on the walls of Galleria Sciarra form the backdrop for several suites of office space. Visitors can enter Galleria Sciarra free of charge to view the spectacular courtyard. Don’t be surprised if a sharply dressed Italian in business attire zips past you while you’re admiring Galleria Sciarra’s gorgeous artwork in the daytime. At night, the artwork is illuminated by soft yellow light.
If visiting a shopping center that never was puts you in the mood to visit a place where you can do some serious shopping, a visit to nearby Via del Corso is an absolute must. Via del Corso has existed since the earliest days of ancient Rome and is currently lined with clothing shops where visitors can purchase affordable apparel. In ancient Rome, Via del Corso was a popular spot for horse races. Today, most of the street serves as a pedestrian mall where visitors can shop and enjoy the beauty of Rome.
Rome is home to some of Europe‘s most iconic and historic statues, buildings, and fountains. Exploring the stunning artwork of Galleria Sciarra, a rare hidden Art Nouveau gem, is a delightful addition to Rome’s array of iconic and historic European…