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500 years of Raphael in Rome: let’s celebrate!

Leonardo’s year have passed and now we are gloriousing starting the celebrations for another genius of the XVI Century: Raffaello Sanzio!

Yes, him. The golden boy, the enfant prodige the one who was loved by everybody from Florence to Rome, from the Medici family to the Pope (except maybe someone called Michelangelo but that’s another story..).

Raphael died at the age of 37 on April 6, 1520.
Fivehundred years ago.

Let’s celebrate! You can spot Florence’s events through Joy of Florence crew if you like and if you are heading to Rome, well, here you have the “unmissable” list!

Save the date! #1 Obviousely there will be a H-U-G-E exhibition dedicated to him.

📍 WHERE? At the Scuderie del Quirinale on via XXIV Maggio 16 (walking distance from the Trevi Fountain)

📍 WHEN? From 5 March 2020 to 2 June 2020

📍 HOW CAN YOU SEE IT? We suggest to pre-book your entry tickets here: we expect lines every day of the week especially Friday PM, Saturday AM and PM and Sunday AM and PM.

Raffaello Sanzio’s Portrait

Raphael @VaticanMuseums

Save the date! #2 The Director of the Museums, Barbara Jatta, has just confirmed the rumors: the ten great tapestries based on Raphael’s cartoons will be moved from the Pinacoteca to the Sistine Chapel just like Pope Leo X wanted it to be! The tapestries are mirror-images of the cartoons and they were made in Brussels, where the Vatican tapestries were woven by the workshop of Pieter van Aelst and made with both gold and silver thread; seven were displayed for the first time in the Chapel for Christmas Day in 1519.

The last time they were hung in there was back in 1983😲

📍 WHEN? The tapestries will be in the “new” location from the 17th to 23rd February of 2020.

📍 HOW CAN YOU SEE IT? During a classic Vatican Museums tour! No need to book any special tickets or entrance other than the usual standard voucher.

They will be included in any of our tours until February 23. After that, you will need and extended version of the tour to see them.

When you will visit the picture gallery, In the extended version, you will also see three paintings:  The crowing of the Virgin, The Madonna of Foligno and the stunning Transfiguration.

Cacciata di eliodoro dal tempio
Cacciata di eliodoro dal tempio, Wikimedia Commons

Same in the Vatican Museums, always in the extended version of the tour you will visit the incredible frescos on the walls of the so called Raphael Rooms.

  • Room of Constantine.
  • Room of Heliodorus.
  • Room of the Segnatura: here you find the world famous “School of Athens” with the portraits of Leonardo and Michelangelo as philosophers and a very well hidden self portrait. Will you be able to spot it?
  • Room of the Fire in the Borgo.

Together with this in the Vatican Museums you also find the “La Loggia” sadly not opened to the public with the Stories of the Genesis, Moses, David and Jesus Christ.

So… Book your Vatican Museums tour and you’ll nail many at once!

Scuola di Atene di Raffaello
Scuola di Atene, di Raffaello (Pixabay)

Raphael: walking in Rome

Churches! Churches! Churches! We are a broken record: always enter a church when you see one! Here you have some “Raphael” reasons to enter into stunning ones!

Sant’Agostino Church: Yes, we know, you have heard of that because of Caravaggio and you are right. This is where we go to admire the masterpiece by the other Michelangelo, the so called “Madonna dei Pellegrini” but we you have a secret: in the central aisle, fourth pillar on the left there is a small fresco by Raphael.
There since 1512 The Prophet Isaiah is an extraordinary interpretation of…Michelangelo Buonarroti’s style. Legend has it that after complaining to Michelangelo that he had been overcharged for the fresco, the commissioner heard Michelangelo respond, “the knee alone is worth the price demanded”. He was quite a temper, wasn’t he?

Santa Maria del Popolo: Raphael worked mainly for Popes but there were exceptions. Agostino Chigi was one of them: the richest man who ever lived, the banker who determined the destiny of the economy of the State of the church for almost a century. He even managed to have Pope Leo X to celebrate his second wedding with…A courtesan! Needless to say: he was powerful man.
For him Raphael painted the sensual Galatea in the palace the banker built at the other side of the Tiber: the gorgeous Villa Farnesina. Together with it Raphael designed for Agostino the only religious building which has been preserved in its near original form: the Cappella Chigi inside Sant Maria del Popolo. Add a twist to your Caravaggio walk and stop there too before seeing the Cerasi Chapel in the same tour.

In 1514, always for Agostino Chigi, Raphael began to fresco the Sibyls receiving angelic instruction above the arch of the Chigi Chapel, commissioned in the Church of Santa Maria della Pace. Ask your guide to spot it during your Highlights of Rome Tour

Before reaching Villa Farnesina ask your guide to pay a visit to the Church of Sant’Eligio degli orefici. The original project, the dome, the round arches and carved portals are typical of Raphael’s style of architecture.

We saw you, at the other side of the screen thinking: “ok! We have a plan” well, wait, take back your note book and keep writing

Trastevere and Villa Farnesina

Raphael: galleries and museums in Rome

Palazzo Barberini: we know, the museum is big but, trust us, so worthy. Bernini, Caravaggio, Pietro da Cortona and.. RAPHAEL all in one place. Did you know that he was crazy in love with a woman called Margherita Luti aka La Fornarina. If you want to see her face put Palazzo Barberini on the list!

Galleria Doria Pamphilij: it’s not a mistery, we A-D-O-R-E this place. It’s a shame only few visitors from abroad know about it. If you loved the Galleria Borghese, you will go crazy for this gallery. It’s a coffer of beauty and art and architecture with all the most famous artists represented with at least one work. Yes, we mean Caravaggio, Bernini and, of course, the man of the year: Raphael. In the shiny corridors of this private collection you’ll find a marvelous double portrait of two intellectuals of the time: Agostino Beazzano and Andrea Navagero. Book your tour NOW, you won’t regret it!

Galleria Borghese: Ok. Gianlorenzo Bernini statues. It’s true. That’s a very good reason to book your entrance to this unforgettable place but…Raphael is another! You’ll find two paintings by the genius and one has no need to be described because, in our humble opinion, it is one of the best paintings ever made in the entire world: we are talking about The Deposition also known as the “Pala Baglioni”. Why? Well find out why during our tour with an art historian. The second one is a beauty too: the “Lady with the Liocorn”. She is right there, staring at you in the eyes almost saying: “Am I good enough for you to propose?”. You’ll be the judge.

Deposition by Raphael, Borghese Gallery

After all this learing and exploring, we suggest a soothing walk in the Borghese park until the entrance of the Accademia di San Luca. There, if you are real Raphael hunters, you’ll find a lovely painting of a cupid holding a garland to complete your collection.

If you are really Raphael sick and want to see something everyone else misses, check out Villa Madama. You will not be allowed in for “political” reasons but we are sure you’ll be happy to give it a look from the outside.

Tired? We hope you are not! You are still missing.. his tomb! Yes Raphael is buried in Rome inside a very very famous place. No worries! We bet it’s already in your plan. Have you ever heard about…PANTHEON? Look for the red rose and you’ll find him. There will be a fresh one every single day all along 2020 to commemorate the painter who – as his epitaph says – “while he was alive, Nature feared being defeated and, when he died, she was afraid of dying too”

Ready to start your Raphael quest?