There are many hidden spaces around Rome that are scattered between the most crowded tourist spots. These are the places that come with many surprises and most of the time are secluded enough so you can take a breath and slow down before getting back into the pumping heart of the city.
One of Rome’s hidden gems is the lovely Renaissance building that is home to a fascinating multifunctional space Chiostro del Bramante. Only steps away from Piazza Navona, you can easily slip into a comfortable and beautiful atmosphere at this cultural centre that will definitely feed your appetite for contemporary art as well as for a good cup for coffee and Italian delicacies. This incredible complex designed by Donato Bramante (1444-1515) used to be a monastery that also included the next door church of Santa Maria della Pace where you can see the infamous Raphael’s Sibyls fresco from 1515. As you go around the columns of the courtyard looking at the architecture of the cloister you will notice the reflection of harmony and balance that were typical architectural values for the Renaissance period. Observe the light and shadow that are created by the structures and notice how they play around in order to make an atmosphere of compatibility, which is what makes this places such a sanctuary in the midst of the city.
The internal courtyard has a bistro and a bookstore, so you can sit and relax with a cup of coffee and something to eat from their light menu. The bistro is also space where young artists can showcase their work parallel to the exhibitions with established artists. The lounge of the bistro “Room of Sibyls” not only does it offer an indispensable view of Raphael’s incredible fresco but it is also a perfect spot for events, meetings and corporate functions. In the evening the courtyard turns into a charming place for an aperitivo or a private party. The bookstore is one of those great ones that can draw you in for hours, taking you deep into a world of fantastic books about art from major and minor publishers, monographs and catalogues and of course the unavoidable collections of objects perfect for gifts (for yourself or someone else).
Make sure you spare some time for the bookshop, as you will be blown away.
However, the galleries are the main attraction where rotating exhibitions by renowned modern and contemporary artists are exhibited. On display are exceptional works of art from all over the world, and it is quite often that the Renaissance beauty of the complex is combined with very creative and contemporary installations. What you should expect when coming here is a fusion of ancient splendour and exciting innovative art pieces. The space itself allows for dynamic interactions between the visitors and the artists which is why the last several exhibitions were truly exceptional, from a collaboration of several artists responding to a common given theme to masterpieces by artists such as Turner and Basquiat.
As previously mentioned, this is a multifunctional space after all and as such it offers event services in its unique setting. If you happen to fall in love with this place it could very well be a spot where you can celebrate your special occasion. With its charm and wide space, you will often find that this is a location for remarkable events such as gala dinners, conventions, concerts and private events. An evocative space that breaths authenticity seems to be a scarce occurrence these days especially one such as Chiostro del Bramante. It's not for no reason that many refer to it as Rome’s best-kept secret.