Galleria Sciarra – a Surprise Gem

As fascinating and beautiful as ancient Rome is, “more recent” Rome can be equally stunning.  One such example is not far from us — a 7-minute walk, to be specific — on Piazza dell’ Oratorio, and it’s a surprise gem. Built in the 1880’s, Galleria Sciarra is one of the few examples of Art Nouveau in Rome.  One passes through the open-air courtyard of this commercial building, and you are immediately struck by the glorious glass and iron skylight (seen at the top of this post), designed by architect Giulio De Angelis for Prince Maffeo Sciarra.

In Galleria Sciarra
In Galleria Sciarra.

The architectural details on the building are stunning.

Window of Galleria Sciarra
Window of Galleria Sciarra.


Architectural detail of Galleria Sciarra
Architectural detail of Galleria Sciarra.


Upper levels of painted decoration at Galleria Sciarra
Upper levels of painted decoration at Galleria Sciarra.


Details of Galleria Sciarra
Details of Galleria Sciarra.

Then you notice the painted scenes by Giuseppe Cellini on 19th-century middle class womanly virtues. The building was originally a shopping arcade. The lower row of paintings show women in their various roles in 1880’s society from girl, to bride, to mother.  The upper row shows personifications of female virtues such as loyalty, chastity, and patience.

A woman being dressed for her wedding
A woman being dressed for her wedding.


The virtue of fidelity
The virtue of fidelity.


There’s nothing else like this in Rome, and it’s free to stroll through this gem. So make sure to see it when you are out and about exploring!

If you’re walking from the apartment toward Piazza Venezia, Galleria Sciara will be on the left.