Located just a few steps away from the iconic Trevi Fountain and the fashionable Via del Corso is a largely unknown courtyard that takes visitors back to the height of the Art Nouveau movement. Its beautiful frescoes and brilliant colors are a feast for the eyes and a welcome change from the pale, faded ancient Roman ruins scattered throughout the city. Prince Maffeo Sciarra Colonna was well ahead of his time when he decided to build a retail gallery in 1870. They have been very popular throughout Europe. He spared no expense for his decoration painted by Giuseppe Cellini. Richly decorated with beautiful frescoes and ornamentation, it is a work of art in itself–proof that Rome is truly an open-air museum. The gallery walls are decorated with women's illustrations: the first row depicts women through the stages of life (from youth to married woman) and the second row depicts feminine virtues such as loyalty, patience, justice and chastity. Architect Giulio De Angelis designed the gallery that includes a glassed canopy cast iron and elegant designs on the supporting structures. There are also various family arms coats (Colonna/Barberini), as well as Maffeo Sciarra's initials on the interior walls. However, the gallery failed and this was coupled with the Prince's overall financial trouble. He broke and had to sell his art collection and eventually not only the gallery, but even his family palace. Open until 8:00 pm; try to go in the evening when the gallery is illuminated with a warm and magical glow, making you feel like you've been transported into a different era.
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