Lee Marshall, The Daily Telegraph, October 4, 2012
With romani flooding back from their August exodus, the Eternal City returns to its usual, chaotic, working rhythm in September. Any visitor seeking a quieter stay will have to wait until late November, or come well after the Christmas and New Year rush is over.
These mid-seasons are a leap into the unknown as far as weather is concerned – you could find glorious sunshine or a days of driving rain – but at least you’ll find the crowds less daunting.
You’ll find the crowds less daunting in autumn
Vermeer, the Golden Century of Dutch Art
September 27 - January 20
The Scuderie del Quirinale ( scuderiequirinale.it ) is the venue for Italy’s first ever major show – entitled The Golden Century of Dutch Art – of works by 17th-century genius Johannes Vermeer. The Scuderie will follow up from February with an exhibition of masterpieces by Titian. Given the popularity of this venue’s excellent exhibitions, it’s best to book tickets (€12, €9.50 reductions) and time slot on-line, otherwise you face a long queue to enter.
- My hotel pick: The Villa Spalletti, a spectacular Roman townhouse of blue-eyed and blue-blooded Count Giangiacomo Spaletti Travelli, has been turned into the city’s most aristocratic luxury hotel. Read the full review
The museum-like reception rooms at Villa Spalleti
September 26 - November 25
The autumn sees the return of the Romaeuropa Festival ( romaeuropa.net/en/ ) with its exceptional, world-class programme of contemporary dance, music and theatre performed in venues around the city. This year’s festival includes a tribute to US composer Philip Glass for his 75th birthday. Ticket prices vary greatly depending on venue and event; they can all be booked on line. For dedicated festival-followers there’s a five-show pass at €80.
Along the Silk Road
October 27 - March 24
A fascinating collection of textiles, artefacts and art works goes on display at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni ( palazzoesposizioni.it ) in October, charting a journey along the ancient Silk Road, which for centuries carried merchants from the Mediterranean to China. Tickets (€12.50, €10 reductions, include all the shows on inside this huge exhibition space) can be booked on line or purchased at the door.
- My hotel pick: Residenza Torre Colonna is a five-bedroom boutique hotel in a uniquely situated Medieval watchtower in the ancient heart of Rome. Read the full review
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Paul Klee and Italy
October 9 - January 27
Swiss-German artist Paul Klee made many visits to Italy. This show at the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna ( gnam.beniculturali.it ) displays works made during, and inspired by, his journeys. Tickets (€10, €7.50 reductions) can be purchased at the door.
Days of Rome. The Age of Balance
October 4 - April 28
The Capitoline museums ( museicapitolini.org ) play host to a stunning exhibition of artworks from the golden age when ancient Rome enjoyed prosperity and remarkable peace under the emperors Trajan and Hadrian (AD 98-138). Buy tickets (€12, €10 reductions) on the door, or book on-line through www.omniticket.it in order to go straight to the head of possible queues.
- My hotel pick: Campo de' Fiori is a romantic refuge at the heart of the centro storico which has a secret roof terrace and is great value for money. Read the full review