Stuck in the City on Ferragosto?
Then lucky you! Because while nearly everyone you know is getting sunburnt and dehydrated under the hot August sun, or steaming in traffic, or fighting a crowd of rowdy sea-crazed Romans, or perhaps even getting stung by a jellyfish, you can immerse yourself in the air-conditioned and inspiring culture you can't find anywhere but Rome.
Ferragosto, roughly the equivalent of the UK's August bank holiday, falls every year on August 15th and is more than just a national holiday. It is the day in which the city (already half deserted) empties of all but its most stubborn inhabitants (and a few ill-advised tourists who should probably be in the south of Spain by now). The city is eerily quiet and a walk down any normally bustling street will provide nothing but closed and shuttered shops, one after the other. If you are one of the few sorry people whose great-aunt didn't leave you a beach house in her will, or whose best friend doesn't have an apartment in Sardegna, you might feel pretty sorry for yourself.
That's because this year nearly all the civic museums in Rome will be open (despite the fact that it's a holiday and a Monday), and consequently nearly empty, so you can have all the art you want, all to yourself.
Here's a list of museums open this Ferragosto:
Museo di Roma al Palazzo Braschi, Via di San Pantaleo, 10. 9am-7pm. €9
Current exhibits: Poetry in Nature: Watercolors of Onorato Carlandi, plus a special exposition of about 70 works that have until now been kept in the museum's archives.
Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco, Corso V. Emanuele II, 116. 9am-7pm. €5.50
Current exhibit: Along the rivers of Babylon, an istallation on the external balcony.
Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta. 9am-7pm. €9
Current exhibit: The Farnesina Palace and its collections, displaying works on loan from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Musei Capitolini, Piazza del Campidoglio, 1. 9am-8pm. €12
Current exhibits: Portraits: the many faces of power, featuring portraits of Roman leaders, and At the altar of God, an exhibit on the life of Pope John Paul II.
Museo dei Mercati Traiani, Via IV Novembre, 94, 9am-7pm. €11
Current exhibit: The photographic dream of Franco Angeli 1967-1975.
Museo Carlo Bilotti (in Villa Borghese) Viale Fiorello La Guardia. 9am-7pm. €7
Current Exhibit: Forattini. Viva l'itaglia.
Museo Pietro Canonica (in Villa Borghese), Piazza Siena. 9am-7pm. €5.50
Current exhibit: Ercole Drei: Sculptor in Rome
Musei di Villa Torlonia, Via Nomentana, 70. 9am-7pm. €5.50
Current exhibits: The unpredictable lightness of material: The art of cast iron between the 1800s and 1900s, and 100 years of Machu Picchu's revelation to the world: 1911-2011.
MACRO, Via Reggio Emilia, 54. 11am-10pm. €11
MACRO Testaccio, Via Orazio Giustiniani, 4. 4pm-12am. €5
Numerous installations and exhibits
Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Piazza Sant'Egidio 1b. 10am-8pm. €4
Current exhibits: Cuba: also an Italian story, and Che Guevara photographer