The Beauty of Knowledge: an “East Village” at the centre of Rome
Since opening its doors in 1894, the American Academy in Rome has supported innovative artists, writers, and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community. A non-for-profit, privately supported institution, each year the Academy hosts approximately 30 Rome Prize Fellows, selected by independent juries.
Strategically located, between the Fountain dell’Acqua Paola, also known by locals as the fontanone, and Porta San Pancrazio, the American Academy in Rome is one of the most important overseas institutions dedicated to humanities and art studies. Through the years, the Academy has represented an authentic source of inspiration for literature, archaeology, and classical students who find in Rome their ultimate destination.
The campus is composed of a series of Neoclassical buildings, designed by McKim, Mead & White and Michael Graves, and, since 1909 it also includes Villa Aurelia. Magnificent and immaculate secular parks surround the property, expanding the space overlooking the city center.
Over time, Villa Aurelia has been the setting of many historical events. The building, originally constructed for Cardinal Girolamo Farnese around 1650, was purchased by Count Alessandro Savorelli, who interestingly made his fortune manufacturing candles, in the early nineteenth century.
In 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Hero of the Two Worlds, established here his headquarters during the French siege, which unfortunately caused heavy damages to the villa’s façades. Finally, Mrs Clara Jessup Heyland, an American heiress from Philadelphia, owned the Villa until her death when she bequeathed the building to the Academy. Nowadays, the Villa hosts conferences, public receptions, concerts and other programs that are free and open to the public.
Discover Rare Books at the American Academy’s Library
Another reason to visit the American Academy is the immense library with its incredible choice of manuscripts: over 167,000 volumes in the field of classical studies and history of art including ancient topography and related subjects such as epigraphy, numismatics, and papyrology.
As a true sanctuary of knowledge and learning, the Arthur Ross Reading Room, with its wooden shelving, comfortable seating and well lighten desks, provides a unique space for uninterrupted focus and study. Furthermore, the Barbara Goldsmith Rare Book Room is home to precious first editions and exclusive book copies.
The room is open for two hours each afternoon (Monday–Friday) and provides consultation space for up to six readers at a time.
Local Products and Creativity: the perfect blend
Founded under the guidance of the American chef and author Alice Waters, the Rome Sustainable Food Project intends to provide the Academy’s community with local and seasonal food, and promote a sustainable way of living and eating.
Fresh and local produce coming from the Academy’s vegetable gardens are one of the essential ingredients of this creative space, proposing a moment of meaningful conviviality and sharing through simple yet nutritious meals inspired by the Roman culinary traditions.
AMERICAN ACADEMY IN ROME
Via Angelo Masina, 5 (Academy)
Largo di Porta San Pancrazio, 1-2 (Villa Aurelia)
Weekly Guided Tours (registration required) on Wednesdays 10:00-10:30 (Italian and English)
Regular hours: Monday–Friday 9am–6pm (By appointment only)