A house museum can be defined as a house converted into a museum. It represents a narration of someone's personality and history - a sort of legacy that bears traces of their intimacy, personal rituals, culture, and the time in which they lived. The furnishings, books, souvenirs, and everyday objects become part of the exhibition path; in the faithfully reconstructed rooms, you cross an ideal bridge that reveals the artist's private world.
Our walk begins from via del Seminario, near the Pantheon, where, on the first floor of a 15th-century building, is the Musumeci Greco House Museum. Once the home of Diego de Valdés, chamberlain of Pope Alexander VI Borgia, it houses a collection of weapons ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, flanked by some stage weapons of great value. It is the only House Museum in the world in which a sport is practised and one of the oldest and most prestigious fencing schools in the world.
We arrive in the splendid Piazza di Spagna. At number 31, on the top floor of the 17th-century Palazzetto dei Borgognoni, Giorgio De Chirico lived with his second wife, Isabella Pakzswer Far, from 1948 until 1978, the year of his death. The house, defined in De Chirico's Memoirs as being located "in the centre of the centre of the world", houses a magnificent collection of works of art, the artist's atelier, and a valuable library.
A few steps away, at number 26 of the same square, we discover the Keats-Shelley House, the 18th-century building where John Keats lived the last period of his life. It is here, in fact, that the great English Romantic poet died in February 1821, at the age of 25. The elegant house museum keeps letters, manuscripts, portraits, and relics of the romantics and great writers inspired by them - such as Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Jorge Luis Borges, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Walking towards Piazza del Popolo, at number 18 of via del Corso, is Goethe House. Here the poet lived during his stay in Rome, together with the painter Tischbein. Inside, we can admire testimonies - letters, books, and drawings - of the trip to Italy and the stay in Rome of the German artist.
From via del Corso, with a short walk through the suggestive Piazza Fontanella Borghese, we continue towards the house of Mario Praz (1896 - 1982), an English scholar and critic of international importance. Located in Palazzo Primoli, it preserves over 1,200 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and furnishings, collected on the European antique market in more than sixty years.
In the heart of Villa Borghese Park, the Pietro Canonica Museum stands out: a small jewel dedicated to the sculptor and composer of Piedmontese origin (1869-1959). On the first floor, we discover the artist's private apartment with fine furnishings and Piedmontese 19th-century paintings. On the ground floor, the atelier and the exhibition rooms, where it is possible to admire most of his works.
Inside the historical-monumental park Villa Strohl-Fern, we find the studio of the painter Francesco Trombadori (Syracuse 1886 - Rome 1961), a leading figure of the "Roman School". The study n. 12 is the last surviving study-house intact in its 19th-century structure with a mezzanine, a wooden staircase, and a large skylight.
Near Piazzale Flaminio stands the eclectic Villa Helene, the home studio of the sculptor Hendrik Andersen (1872-1940). Bequeathed to the Italian State in 1940, upon the artist's death, it was the place where Andersen dedicated himself to his utopian project of the perfect "World City". The magnificent sequence of monumental statues is impressive.
In the nearby Della Vittoria district, not to be missed Alberto Moravia's apartment, where the writer, critic, essayist, and intellectual (Rome, 1907-1990) lived since 1963. Even today, you can breathe the minimal atmosphere of the time and the sober personality of the landlord. Walking through the rooms, it is easy imagining the artist working in his studio with his Olivetti 82 typewriter or being fascinated by his relevant personal library.
Also worthy of note are: the Casa Museo of Giacinto Scelsi (Count of Ayala Valva, 1905-1988), in via di San Teodoro, between the Campidoglio and the Roman Forum, which houses the instruments, the piano, and all the furniture of the musician; Luigi Pirandello's Studio (Agrigento 1867 - Rome 1936), the last residence inhabited by the great writer; in northern Rome, the Venanzo Crocetti Foundation Museum, which houses over one hundred works, including bronzes, marbles, stones, paintings by the Abruzzo sculptor (Giulianova 1913 - Rome 1998).