It makes me feel graciously frivolous, so after this long pause, here is a new article focusing on the "shopping arcades" and malls that popped up in Rome during the Belle Epoque:
It was obtained from sacrifying an area of the original palace, on an intuition of Prince Maffeo Sciarra to give to Rome its very "shopping arcade" as was already happening in cities like London and Paris.
Architect Giulio De Angelis was commissioned with the project in 1883, but the main feature of the little space is its rich and generous decorative apparatus, work of artist Gabriele Cellini, who, besides the paintings, realized by encausting technique, took care of the decorations in terracotta and cast iron that enrich the space.
In 1885 the trendy magazine "Cronaca Bizantina", at the time directed by Gabriele D'Annunzio, Italian dandy and friend of the prince, found its site here, but the space would be completed and inaugurated only in 1888.
The first level of the decorations feature famous quotes from the works of Virgil and Horatio, Latin authors that every woman with basic education should have been familiar with.
The second level shows us scenes of the daily life of a woman of the middle class:
Finally, the third level is dedicated to the vitsues of the modern woman.
Let's get outside back on Via del Corso to take a peek to another interesting specimen of Roman frivolity, the so-called "La Rinascente" Building.
At the same time he was following the building this very mall, which construction started in 1886 and ended in 1889.
The main feature of this elegant, yet imposing building, was the magistral use of light, and its appealing structure of marble, iron and glass.
Right now the inner structure of the building has been altered to the modern taste, but you can still grasp the original suggestion of the multi-layered open building basking in light:
The building was named "La Rinascente" ("The Reborning") in 1917 by another recurring name, our good ol' D'Annunzio, to celebrate its rebuilding after a fire that destroyed it completely. In these years it became the meeting point of various artists: Marcello Duchovic produced original promotional posters for its products and Giò Ponti designed an exclusive line of furnitures for sale.
During the years the society was forced to sell its building, but it moved close-by, in the adiacent Galleria Colonna, now Galleria Alberto Sordi (renamed in 2003 as a tribute to the popular Roman actor).
The architecture belongs to Dario Carbone, that after receiving the commission in 1907, managed to present this original building, perfectly adjusted in the structure of the city:
After the renovation of 2003 and some managerial adventures in 2009, the area is still alive and kicking and I highly suggest you a walk around it to savour the spirit of the troubled, yet fancy and stubborn Roman Belle Epoque.