I know you want to get out of your house and see more of Italy, and so do I. And right now we have a lot of time to “travel” around Italy, so I’ve come up with my favorite ways of doing so without leaving the comfort of your favorite couch.
When I want to take a walk out of the house and go to Venice, Naples, the Alps, or even around Rome, I click over to Skyline Web Cams. Pro-tip: click the time-lapse function. You can watch the day go by in a matter of seconds. I am obsessed! My favorite piazza-watching experiences are in Piazza del Duomo in Milan and Rome’s Trevi Fountain (see below). When my brain needs some virtual Vitamin D, I sunscreen up and head to the beach in Mondello, Sicily.
When I need a culture fix, I hop into a museum. Italy’s Ministry of Culture MiBACt has aggregated virtual and online cultural initiatives, divided into categories: books/libraries, education, museums, music, cinema, and theater. (It’s in Italian, but it’s still a great resource.) They are also constantly uploading great video content on the MiBACt YouTube page with great video tours of museums and sites as part of the greater #IoRestoaCasa (“I’m staying home”) campaign, like Reggia di Caserta outside Naples, Italy’s answer to Versailles (below). Pro tip: if there is any dialogue, switch the subtitles to English.
When I want to stay local, I skip over to the Vatican Museums for their six, 360-degree virtual tours, including the Raphael Room and the Sistine Chapel, which are never this empty.
Musei in Comune, Rome’s museum circuit, has five virtual tours of my favorite museums: Musei Capitolini (the oldest museum in Italy), Trajan’s Market (a museum space with antiquities as well temporary shows in a 2nd century AD market place), Ara Pacis (Richard Meier’s gorgeous modern museum housing the Area Pacis, a first century altar with sculptural history of the Giulio-Claudio family), Museo Napoleonico (Napoleon’s sister and family lived in Rome, and though we don’t talk about it a lot we are really proud of this capsule collection), and Villa Torlonia’s Casino Nobile (an incredible villa designed by architect Valadier and home to the illustrious Torlonia family). Use the maps and floor plans on the lower right to navigate around these astonishing spaces.
But you know me, i need something from this century: Contemporary and Modern art museums MAXXI and La Galleria Nazionale also have virtual exhibitions for exploring.
A version of this article first appeared in Fathom, March 2020.