In the centre of Rome – a year - long narration

A new edition begins at Palazzo Venezia on Tuesday 17 January 2023. Forty encounters with leading lights from the history, art, architecture, archaeology and music worlds


The latest edition of Al centro di Roma conceived by the director of VIVE–Vittoriano e Palazzo Venezia Edith Gabrielli begins on 17 January 2023. Featuring a packed programme of talks, it will add to the cultural activities of VIVE and relaunch the Piazza Venezia area as a rendezvous.

Forty dates. From January to December those attending will have an opportunity to meet and listen to key figures from the history, art, architecture, archaeology and music worlds.

The talks by university professors, professionals and leading experts will be held in the Sala del Refettorio of Palazzo Venezia

Al centro di Roma will consist in five series of encounters.



From Rome to the rest of the world. Tales from a past that lives on  

Under the aegis of Francesco Benigno, professor of Modern History, Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa 

In collaboration with the Biblioteca di Storia Moderna e Contemporanea and Fondazione Gramsci

Ten encounters entrusted to expert and experienced historians will discuss key topics in Italian (and world) history. Stories from the past spanning an extensive timeframe, from antiquity to the world today, and that still speak to the present. Each talk will focus on a male or female protagonist of a past event whose words and actions make it relevant to the present.  Each individual will be the cue to explore a topic that impacts on life today, with a special focus on issues that should be reappraised and discussed: the city of Rome, an Italy yet to be shaped and that forged as a Republic as too the politics of yesteryear and today but also, more generally, Catholicism and the Shoah. Unexpected tales that will prompt reflection and show that we can learn from the past when it is properly analysed.


From VIVE to the city. The history of art in Rome in the 15th-20th centuries

Under the aegis of Silvia Ginzburg, professor of the History of Modern Art, Università di Roma Tre

After the warm public reception given to the first edition, the VIVE series of talks on the history of art returns. This encounter looks at the city: the works, artists and episodes that left a mark on the history of art in Rome in the 15th-20th centuries will be presented by renowned academics and experts on the various areas explored. 

From frescoes to sculptures, furniture to altarpieces, museums and collections to the galleries and magazines, from the paths pursued by the artists to the success of different styles: the objects, places, individuals, trends and research that came alive in the Rome setting at different times. The city conserves examples of all these and VIVE is offering the public an opportunity to discover and reappraise them, incorporating them into the experience of every citizen.


Architecture in drawings that visualise and construct the habitus residing in the architect’s mind

Under the aegis of Orazio Carpenzano, Head of the Faculty of Architecture, Università La Sapienza in Rome.

Before architecture becomes solid matter it is the product of intellectual speculation and consists in that conceived following the prefiguration of a project. The great Vincenzo Scamozzi described the connection between conception, project and execution with magnificent clarity. The building is “a scientific dwelling that resides in the architect’s mind”; the project drawing is a thought form that enables an architect to communicate and build what does not yet exist – the future. For an architect, design is an important, complex and mysterious structure. It is the fruit of great interrogation, combining the significance of producing a drawing and the theoretical mental picture. This is why those designing architecture are forced to think about the meaning of “precise description”. They inevitably come up against “uncertain interpretations” and must reflect on the “approximation of the narration”.


Private passions. Beauty all around

Collecting frameworks, in conversation with antiquarians and experts 

Under the aegis of Costantino D’Orazio, art historian 

in collaboration with the Associazione Antiquari d’Italia

Private collecting has always driven the production of artworks that would change the course of history. In all epochs, the market has recognised the most talented artists, who have then had an opportunity to produce great public works. With this premise, art historian Costantino D’Orazio will meet five antiquarians, flanked by as many experts, and explore collecting journeys. The focus will be on stories and experiences that allow in-depth examination of several historic contexts in the 13th-19th centuries. Alessandra Di Castro and Franco Leone will explore the decorative arts of a Rome frequented by travellers on the Grand Tour. You will then venture into the world of Europe’s bladed weapons with Gherardo Turchi and Glauco Angeletti. Alessandro Cesati and Mario Scalini will explore metal collecting, starting with the Collezione Pace. And Bruno Botticelli and Simone Chiarugi will illustrate the 19th-century trend of reconstructing Renaissance interiors, especially via the collecting of Certosina inlaid furniture. Last comes the art of lacquered objects, in which for centuries the Venetians developed an expertise on a par with that of Chinese artisans, as explained by Tomaso Piva and Clara Santini.


Under the aegis of Edith Gabrielli, director of VIVE - Vittoriano e Palazzo Venezia

Did you know that the area on which Piazza Venezia stands played a key role in the chessboard design of Ancient Rome? Or that the area’s development rests with certain Popes, Paul II and Paul III in particular? Or that the rooms of Palazzo Venezia resonated with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gioacchino Rossini?

Lying precisely in the centre of modern Rome – the Italian capital – the Piazza Venezia area is the product of complex stratifications. After being configured as a quadrangular square around the middle of the 15th century, in the following centuries the zone became the fulcrum of a thriving mass of protagonists and activities, sometimes urbanistic and architectural but other times political, social, religious, anthropological and artistic. 

Hence the idea of a series of multidisciplinary talks that allow those present to see the Piazza Venezia area in different ages and from ever changing angles. The emerging faces, dynamics and stories fill a lengthy timeframe, spanning from antiquity almost to the present day while passing through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and baroque times.