If you have wandered by the 4th century Arch of Janus recently, you have probably noticed that the restoration is complete, the scaffolding is gone, and there is now a live-sized rhino statue sitting just in front of the ancient monument.
The Rome rhino is a part of Palazzo Rhinoceros, a space that is home to an art space run by Fondazione Alda Fendi – Esperimenti, a rooftop caviar bar overlooking a beautiful ancient corner of the city and the surprisingly affordable 25 luxury apartments known as The Rooms at Palazzo Rhinoceros, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
The rhinoceros installation was the first of what Alda Fendi, daughter of the founders of the luxury fashion house, hopes will be a new cultural hub in Rome.
The space opened in 2018 but it still seems to be finding its footing in early 2019.
That is not to say you shouldn’t go. In fact – the opposite – you should hurry here as soon as possible to be sure to see the Michelangelo sculpture currently on display.
Michelangelo’s Crouching Boy is the lone exhibit on the first floor of Palazzo Rhinoceros and is on loan to the Fondazione Alda Fendi – Esperimenti from the Hermitage through March 10, 2019.
The small marble of a curled youth is the only item in the exhibition space and is illuminated by artificial candlelight.
The statue is completely free to visit. After viewing Michelangelo’s evocative work, you can also continue up to the first and second floors to see a small exhibit of some of his sketches and architectural plans which are normally only on display in Florence.
Young docents are also happy to show you how Palazzo Rhinoceros can also be used for other installations and performance art in the future.
The luxury apartments (which start at about €300/night) are also on these upper floors. The mix of modern design and original architectural details such as exposed beams and stonework is gorgeous.
Of course, you don’t have to go inside Palazzo Rhinoceros or rent a room in order to enjoy the rhino.
He can be spotted at every hour of the day, standing guard in front of the Arch of Janus – about a one minute walk from the Mouth of Truth and just around the corner from the Campagna Amica farmer’s market.
Fondazione Alda Fendi – Esperimenti (Palazzo Rhinoceros)
Via dei Cerchi, 21
Rome, Italy (Centro – near Circo Massimo)
Open every day from 10 am – 7 pm