A second article from the NY Times Affordable Europe feature on Sunday, April 22 provides an overview of the amazing works of art available throughout Rome for absolutely free. For example, the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, next to the Pantheon, houses a sculpture of Christ by Michelangelo.
The article starts:
IT is hard to advise a visitor in Rome to skip the Sistine Chapel just because tickets cost $17 or that the line can last for hours. At the same time, in no other city can one wander, with completely empty pockets, and see at least nine works by various Michelangelos — among them the Pietà by the more famous Michelangelo and a number of sly paintings by the only slightly less renowned one, better known as Caravaggio.
This free Michelangelo tour takes less than a day. And except for crowds at St. Peters Basilica, which houses the Pietà, you would probably never even see a line.
In history, culture and art , Rome's greatness — and curse — is overabundance. The curse is that a visitor can never see more than a fraction of what's there in one visit. Part of the greatness is that there is just so much, you can enjoy a first-rate cultural experience and never pay a cent.
San Clemente, the intermediate level of which is pictured above is described as follows:
The spot has been inhabited for some 22 centuries, and visitors can see the layers rising from buildings destroyed in the fire of Nero's time to an old temple to a Persian religion that made it to Rome, Mithraism, to the Christian church built on top as if to physically dominate it.
The apse's 12th-century mosaics are stunning, in marble, gold and tile, with birds and deer embellishing religious themes. Then there are more than eight centuries of frescoes, interesting on their own, but to connoisseurs like Mr. Tarquini, tantalizing as a document of the evolution of art. “It's all of history,” Mr. Tarquini said. It is speculated — but never proven — that the 15th-century artist Masaccio, a transitional figure from decorative Gothic to more humanistic Renaissance painting, had a hand in some of the figures otherwise painted by his friend Masolino.
Following is a list of destinations and resources from the article:
Basilica of San Clemente, Via Labicana 95; (39-06) 77-40-021. Open daily 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., then 3 to 6 p.m.
Basilica of St. Peter's in Chains, Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli 4a. Open daily 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., then 3:30 to 6 p.m.
St. Peter's Basilica. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through September. The rest of the year it closes at 5:30 p.m.
San Luigi dei Francesi, Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi, is near Piazza Navona, as is the Church of Sant'Agostino.
Santa Maria del Popolo is at the northern end of Piazza del Popolo.
Rome Auditorium, Viale Pietro de Coubertin 30; (39-06) 8024-1281.
Monitor Gallery, Viale della Mura Aurelie 19; (39-06) 3937-8024. Tuesday through Saturday, 3:30 to 8 p.m.
Valentina Bonomo Gallery, Via del Portico D'Ottavia 13; (39-06) 683-2766. Monday through Saturday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Incontri Internazionali d'Arte, Palazzo Taverna, Via di Monte Giordano 36; (39-06) 6880-4009. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A useful clearinghouse for cultural events — free and not — is the weekly magazine, Roma C'è. It is available at any newsstand for 1.20 euros (about $1.60, at 1.36 to the dollar) or on the Web at www.romace.it. The English language section contains extensive lists of concerts, blues nights, dance, film and exhibitions.
The full article can be accessed here.