You can climb up London’s Gherkin and walk its walled gardens during its Open House Weekend in September, and you can drink aperitivo in Milan’s private courtyards and admire the flowering genius of Cordoba’s pretty patios in April and May. But so far the doors of Rome’s private houses, its most cutting-edge modernist projects and many aristocratic palazzos have remained firmly closed, until now. This weekend, on the 5th and 6th May, the first edition of Open House Roma takes place.
Part of the Open House Worldwide network, Open House Roma is hosted by an association of non-profit architects, who’ve managed to unlock some of the city’s most unusual sites and are offering free (yes, that’s right, free) guided visits and tours as well as putting on some fun events and workshops for kids.
The spaces have been chosen for their diversity and imaginative clout so you can see anything from the newly restored baroque masterpiece Chiesa Santi Luca e Martina, built atop the most ancient Senate House of the Roman Republic in the middle of the Forum or, the Lincean Academy, one of the first science schools in Italy. You can even go on-site at current groundbreaking projects such as Massimiliano Fuksas’ new Congress Centre in EUR, with its bizarre internal floating cloud.
There are also intriguing intimate spaces, some apartments, studios, workshops and offices, which you may never have considered architectural marvels. But who can argue with the view of the St Peters dome from the minimalist, modern interior of the Casa delle Vittore. In all there are 100+ sites scattered across the city centre, Vatican City, and the outlying neighbourhoods of EUR, Parioli and Flaminio, where Zaha Hadid’s new space-age MAXXI museum is located.
In many cases the tours are guided by architects and there are even walking and cycling tours to cover areas such as EUR, Mussolini’s fascist centerpiece covering a whole city quarter.
Open House Roma aspires to be the largest annual event dedicated to architecture in the Rome, so book your tours and viewings now and be among the first to view some of Eternal City’s truly hidden treasures.
Event: Open House Roma, 5-6th May 2012