Rome tip: See Caravaggio for free

Caravaggio for free, as photographed by Gaspa

Caravaggio is best known for rendering biblical figures in a realistic light (and for his swaggering braggadocio). His work was all but forgotten until the early 20th century. Since then, Rome has essentially become Caravaggio central.

In past years, there have been many illuminating Caravaggio exhibits in Rome, namely the one held at the Ala Mazzoniana exhibition space at Termini Station titled, “Caravaggio: Masterpieces in Private Collections”. Unfortunately, they all charge a fee.

But, three churches in Rome provide free access to Caravaggio’s infamous works. The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus are housed in Santa Maria del Popolo, an Augustinian church in Piazza del Popolo. Near Piazza Navona, the Madonna dei Pellegrini can be viewed at the church of Sant’Agostino, and three scenes from the life of St. Matthew—one of Caravaggio’s favorite apostles and muses— including The Calling of St. Matthew, are on display at San Luigi dei Francesi.

Other works though not for free—at the Vatican Galleries, Borghese Gallery, Palazzo Barberini, Doria Pamphilj Gallery, and the Capitoline Museum.

About the author

TJ developed a taste for travel while living (and ostensibly) studying in Rome. He soon began catching bargain-basement Ryanair flights to various European destinations, where he would immediately scope out the dodgiest bar upon arrival. (He also saw some art along the way.) After returning to SUNY Albany, he developed an independent study in travel writing, which was mostly an excuse to drive cross-country. The 7200 mile trip, made in 11 days with two friends in a very small red car, culminated in a collection of essays called MOVE!, which he describes as incredibly self-indulgent and quite un-publishable. After moving to Manhattan, he found his way to EuroCheapo and has spent most of his time writing reviews for the New York City listings.
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