Unexpected Rome: Painted Perfection of Galleria Sciarra

There are few places in Rome that are as well known or as crowded as the Trevi Fountain. I get it. It is one of my favorite free things to do in Rome, too. But what boggles the mind is that so few people know about Galleria Sciarra, which is a two-minute walk from the thundering fountain.

There it is – looking all simple right behind the McDonald’s.

While the facade of the building is truly typical, the interior of Galleria Sciarra is breathtaking, though you only start to catch your first glimpse of it as you wander through the entrance.

The entire interior of the building is decorated in liberty-style frescoes.

Galleria Sciarra was built between 1885 and 1888 as a courtyard for the Palazzo Sciarra Colonna. The building incorporated what was a modern technique at the time – creating a vaulted ceiling of glass and cast iron.

And as pretty as the glass ceiling is, the true marvel of the gallery is the art work.

The frescoes were painted by Giuseppe Cellini in an Art Nouveau style.

Look between the beautiful scroll details of flowers and vines to see the true subject matter: glorificazione della donna. A theme dedicated to glorifying women.

The paintings are meant to depict female virtues, including Justice, Patience, Fidelity, and Strength.

Today Galleria Sciarra is home to offices, but its internal courtyard is open to the public during business hours. Most of the people who pass through are locals who use the covered walkway as a shortcut from Via Marco Minghetti to Piazza dell’Oratorio.

I love to stop in and admire the incredible decorations while Roman life buzzes around me. It is a perfect sight to add to your itinerary when you are in the Trevi / Via del Corso area.

Only a few people ever stop to take in the gorgeous frescoes, which were restored in the 1970s.

Galleria Sciarra

Piazza dell’Oratorio
Rome, Italy (Centro Storico)



  • Reply Betsy May 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    This was one of the first sites my new husband and I saw (by accident!) on our first night in Rome on our honeymoon this past October. Absolutely beautiful! We stood for a long time admiring the splendor. It was a lovely welcome for us. 🙂

    • Reply Natalie May 25, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      I’m so glad you stumbled upon it!

  • Reply Susan October 17, 2018 at 1:57 am

    I’m headed to Rome next week. I’ve been to the fountain several times, but did not know about this – fantastic.

  • Reply Monica November 3, 2018 at 3:41 am

    We will be there dec 24-31…. will it be accessible?

    • Reply Natalie November 4, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Hopefully! It is currently closed for construction/repairs – I went by on 3 Nov and there was no posted re opening date

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