I only ever come across Galleria Sciarra accidentally and it is always a happy surprise. Situated between Via del Corso and the Trevi Fountain it is a hidden gem built in the late 19th century art nouveau style. Richly decorated with beautiful frescoes and ornamentations, it is a work of art in itself – proof that Rome is truly an open-air museum – and an oasis of contemplation in the center of Rome. The galleria was built by the wealthy Sciarra family in 1885 and intended to be an elegant shopping mall. Instead it was used as the headquarters of a magazine published by the family. The walls of the gallery are decorated with illustrations of women: the first row represents women through the stages of life (from youth to married woman) and the second row features depictions of feminine virtues such as loyalty, patience, justice and chastity.
Galleria Sciarra is an opulent and impressive corner of Rome that may give you a stiff neck from the time spent gazing upwards at its marvels. Open until 20:00, try to go in the evening when the galleria is illuminated with a warm and magical glow, making you feel like you have been transported into a different era.