There isn’t a better time to live out your Under the Tuscan Sun dreams, rent a car and explore Italy than during Settimanna della Cultura, or Cultural Week.
For the past twelve years, the Italian Ministry of Culture has opened all state operated museums, archaeological sites, historical homes, monuments and various other places around the country free to the public for one week each year. Even sites that are not usually open to visitors are staffed with volunteers for the occasion.
This year, Cultural Week takes place April 16th – 25th. In addition to the free admission, there will be special performances, exhibitions and tours given. If you don’t want to travel far, we suggest roaming Roma for the week. Find a great hotel as close to the center of town as you can and get lost each day exploring the Eternal City’s ancient streets. And remember, if you have more than a week to spend, leave the Vatican for the days when Cultural Week is not taking place. Vatican City is not Italy and their sites won’t be free to visit.
In Art + Travel, we explore Rome through the eyes of one of its most famous artists, Carravaggio. Cultural Week is a perfect time to visit the museums in our walking tour, beginning with the Villa Borghese where you can see some of Carravaggios final works such as David with the Head of Goliath and Madonna dei Palafrenieri. Visitors normally must reserve tickets in advance for this museum and then are limited to two hours but during Cultural Week, you will have free reign.
Next, head to Palazzo Barberini, where you will find Judith Beheading Holofernes, a work that has been hidden from the world until being discovered in a private collection in the 1950s.
From there, head down past the Trevi Fountain to Galleria Doria Pamphilj where you will find two more amazing works by the master including his Penitent Magdalene for which he used the same prostitute from the above Judith.
For a full calendar of Settimanna della Cultura events, visit the Italian Ministry of Culture’s site.
Viale Pietro Canonica, 2
00197 Roma, Italy
Via delle Quattro Fontane 13
00184 Roma, Italy
Galleria Doria Pamphilj
Piazza del Collegio Romano, 2
00186 Roma, Italy
Top photo: ©Akira Chiba