During his stay in Rome, Goethe noted,
Its beauties have lifted me little by little to their height.
Over a century later, American poet Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950) visited the Eternal City and claimed he
seemed to be reaching the heights of art / And to breathe the air that the masters breathed, / And to see the world with their eyes.
Certainly, Rome’s beauty can give great joy to anyone who is able to appreciate its wonders of art, elevating their hearts to the sky.
Perhaps Rome’s special ability to make creative intuition “fly” is the reason why so many artists decided to move there – so the city is now dotted with artists’ and writers’ houses, some of which have been turned into museums over time.
Visit these homes and you too, like Lee Masters, will
breathe the air that the masters breathed and
see the world with their eyes.
We have selected five house-museums in Rome for you. They are some of the most beautiful and relevant homes where five great talents of the 1900s once lived: sculptor Pietro Canonica, painter Giorgio De Chirico, writers Luigi Pirandello and Alberto Moravia, and critic Mario Praz.
Are you ready to fly?
Let’s start from Luigi Pirandello’s House-Studio in Via Antonio Bosio, near Villa Torlonia. The Sicilian writer and playwright (Girgenti, June 28th 1867 – Rome, December 10th 1936) – who penned masterpieces of Italian literature such as “One, No One and One Hundred Thousand” and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” – moved into this pleasant little villa in 1933, one year before receiving the Nobel prize, and stayed until his death. Among other things, you can see here some two thousand books he owned and the typewriter he worked on.
Studio di Luigi Pirandello-Istituto di Studi pirandelliani e sul teatro contemporaneo
Address: Via Antonio Bosio, 13 B.
Telephone and fax: +39 06 44291853
Opening hours: from Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 3.30pm. On Fridays, from 11am to 7pm.
Three kilometers from Pirandello’s house, visit the Pietro Canonica Museum, which we already showcased in a previous article. The Piedmontese sculptor (Moncalieri, March 1st 1869 – Rome, June 8th 1959) was globally famous and especially popular with the European aristocracy. Many families commissioned him portraits of all sizes, which are now scattered from Russia to Great Britain, from Turkey to Argentina. When he moved to Rome in 1922, he turned the “Fortezzuola” in Piazza di Siena, at the heart of Villa Borghese, into his home. Now, it showcases a huge number of very interesting sketches, studies, bronze and marble statues, and replicas he made.
Museo Pietro Canonica in Villa Borghese
Address: Viale Pietro Canonica (Piazza di Siena), 2
Telephone: +39 06 0608
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday.
From October to May: 10am to 4pm.
From June to September: 1pm to 7pm.
On December 24th and 31st: 10am to 2pm.
The ticked office closes thirty minutes before closing time.
Less than two kilometers from Casa Canonica, with a pleasant walk across Villa Borghese, you can go to Piazza di Spagna and at number 31, right next to the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, reach our third stop: the Giorgio de Chirico House, which we wrote about some time ago. The great “metaphysical” painter lived with his wife Isabella Far on the three top floors of this 17th-century building –at the cultural and artistic heart of the city, surrounded by the ateliers in Via Margutta and Via del Babuino – from 1948 to his death on November 20th 1978, at the age of ninety. A visit to these spaces – to be booked in advance – will lead you through a large part of De Chirico’s artistic life: the works displayed in each room compose a gorgeous “living gallery”, with an extraordinary selection of his works from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Giorgio de Chirico House-Museum
Address: Piazza di Spagna, 31
Telephone: + 39 06 679 6546
Guided tours only, in Italian or English, starting every day at 10am, 11am or 12am. Booking is required.
The fourth stop in our special tour of artists’ residences in Rome is Casa Moravia, which you can reach by covering famous streets and squares such as Via Sistina, Via della Trinità dei Monti and Piazza del Popolo. It is four kilometers from Casa De Chirico, at Lungotevere della Vittoria, 1. The Roman novelist, author of masterpieces “Time of Indifference”, “The Empty Canvas”, “The Woman of Rome” and “Two Women” – lived in this apartment from 1963 to 1990, year of his death. The house now showcases the extensive art collection of works Moravia received from his many artist friends, the objects he collected during his many travels in the world, and a library full of valuable books.
Alberto Moravia House-Museum
Address: Lungotevere della Vittoria, 1
Telephone: +39 060608
The museum opens only for booked visits.
You can book a visit up to approximately thirty days in advance.
Bookings: +39 06 39728186 or +39 348 3206721
Educational visits: the first Saturday of the month, at 10am and 11am.
Walking down Lungotevere Prati for a little over two kilometers, you can reach the last stop in our artistic itinerary: Casa Mario Praz, at Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, 1. The famous English literature scholar, critic and essayist from Rome (1896-1982) lived in Palazzo Primoli from 1969 to his death. This is where he gathered everything he had collected in Italy, Austria, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Northern Europe – now forming a wonderful collection in this museum: 1,200 pieces including furniture, decor items, sculptures and paintings. Feast your eyes on Russian malachite, Bohemian crystal, French bronze and German porcelain, portraits of the Bonaparte and Bourbon families, Italian and European landscapes. Room after room, you will feel Praz’s boundless culture come to life in the art he loved.
Mario Praz House-Museum
Address: Via Zanardelli, 1
Telephone: +39 06 6861089
To book or request a guided tour, please call the museum.
Opening hours: Thursdays and Fridays 2.30pm to 7pm, last entrance by 6.30pm. Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm, last entrance by 1pm.
Photos via: ©Domenico Gambardella (Casa de Chirico, Rome 2013), ©www.rocaille.it