Free Contemporary Art Galleries in Rome
The city of Rome is well-known for being an open-air museum, filled with dazzling fountains, picturesque piazzas, and spectacular architecture to admire. Of course, its various monuments, museums, and palaces offer a lot more to explore – but entry fees and ticket cots can add up. Aside from that, classical art is not for everyone (and there’s a real abundance of it in Rome!). Here is a list of Rome’s free art galleries, for art lovers who want to catch modern, contemporary, and sometimes even local art exhibitions without paying a dime!
Dorothy Circus Gallery
Via dei Pettinari 76
Mon – Fri, 11:30 – 6:30pm; Sat, 11:30 – 8pm
This quirky gallery always has something interesting on display. Exhibits change regularly, but the permanent collection includes works by street artist “ROA” and Margaret Keane, the artist who inspired the film “Big Eyes”. The red painted walls and well-curated bookshop collection only add to its charm. Oh, and don’t miss the small mural by street artist “Miss Van” outside the shop!
Vicolo Dei Catinari 3
Tues – Sat, 11 – 7pm
Art collector Lorcan O’Neill made his way to Rome from London in 2014, opening his very elegant art gallery, tucked away near Campo dei Fiori. While the entrepreneur represents established artists, including Turner Prize winners Tracey Emin and Richard Long, he has an eye for emerging and new artists. The gallery hosts 5 to 6 well-curated exhibitions per year, often kicking off with an opening party.
Via di Grotta Pinta 38
Tues – Sat, 12 – 8pm; Sun 3 – 8pm
Varsi Gallery is a magical corner of Rome’s contemporary art world. The small studio is a transformative space, with various art forms covering every inch of the walls. International and local artists are featured here, and the staff are a very informative bunch.
Via Francesco Crispi 16
Tues – Sat, 10:30 – 7pm
Armenian American art guru Larry Gagosian is acclaimed around the world, with galleries from New York to London and Hong Kong, as one of the most elite collectors of modern times. He represents top dollar artists, like Jeff Koons, and has a net worth of $600 million himself. Needless to say, the pieces in his galleries tend to come with high price tags.
Via Sforza Cesarini 43
Tues – Sat, 1pm – 7pm
The Monitor gallery is one of two, the second of which is located in Lisbon. The small space offers a variety of artistic exhibitions and is conveniently located in the historic centre of Rome.
Montoro 12 Contemporary Art
Via di Montoro 12
Tues – Sat, 3pm – 7pm
Not far from Campo dei Fiori, Montoro 12 Contemporary Art gallery exhibits works by lesser-known, but nonetheless impressive, international artists. The best thing about it is that you never know what type of art you’ll see!
Magazzino Modern Art
Via dei Prefetti 17
Tues – Sat, 11 – 8pm
Magazzino represents a variety of international modern and contemporary artists in the historic centre of Rome. The small is small but well-utilised. Their website includes a great gallery of photos and biographies of the artists who have exhibited there.
Via delle Zoccolette 28 and Via Giulia 193
Tues – Sat, 11 – 1pm and 4pm – 7:30pm
The RVB Arts showroom is used to display an eclectic collection of affordable works by various artists, rather than curated exhibits. They highlight local Italian artists, many of whom have won international awards or participated in the Venice Biennale. Prices range from 100 to 5,000 euro, but admiring the works is free.
Via Alibert, 20
Mon, 4:30pm – 7:30pm; Tues – Sat, 10 – 7:30pm
This family-run gallery, which has been operating from various locations in Rome since 1898, is now nestled on a charming cobblestone street between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo. Needless to say, the collection is not entirely contemporary – but it does highlight the works of 20th century Italian artists and is certainly worth a look.
COLLI Independent Art Gallery
Via di Monserrato 40
Tues – Sat, 11 – 7 pm
The Colli Independent Art Gallery takes a more tangible approach to the contemporary art world, focusing on printed matter works, book works, editions, and multiples. The exhibition space hosts anything from poster art, social photography, or even multi media installations. The idea here is making art more accessible and focusing more on the cultural value rather than the exclusive market.
Quadrato della Concordia 3
Every day, 10 – 8pm
The Colosseo Quadrato, or “Square Colosseum”, is often referred to as the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, which is the original name given to it upon its completion in 1943. It was built by Benito Mussolini with the intention of hosting the World Fair inside, but things didn’t go according to plan and it was left abandoned for many years. Now it houses the fashion house Fendi Headquarters, but the bottom level is reserved for temporary Italian art exhibitions. It’s not very centrally located, but the building itself is worth the trip, and a free exhibition is an added bonus.
*Hours are always subject to change and locations are subject to closing, especially between exhibitions.
We hope you enjoy your artistic explorations in The Eternal City! Tell us about your favourite art galleries in the comments below, and contact us at What A Life Tours and we’ll tailor a customised, art-inspired tour just for you!
Author: April Nicole
April is an American writer and photographer who has lived in Rome since 2013. She enjoys exploring the museums of the city, as well as indulging in authentic Italian cuisine!
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