Modern Roman Culture

Roman coffee

Perhaps it's inevitable that the culture of modern Rome is overshadowed in the world's imagination by the 3,000 years of history that have led up to it. But Rome today is a vibrant, diverse, and fascinating place.

Rome may have plenty of art galleries and museums dedicated to the distant past, but there are also more modern galleries like the Museum of Modern Art and Maxxi; there is a vibrant theatre scene, with both large productions and small underground groups (some of whom perform in English).

Sometimes the lines between contemporary and ancient culture are blurred: modern dramatic productions and exhibitions often make use of locations like the Forums or the Baths of Caracalla, or the Ara Pacis (which hosted a Valentino retrospective back in 2007).

In the twentieth century, authors such as Ablerto Moravia and filmmakers like Fellini and Rossellini have contributed to Rome's continued cultural importance. Moving to the present day, filmmakers like Nanni Moretti are becoming increasingly popular abroad, and you can read our interview with the Roman author Massimo Mongai to discover how the city has inspired his fiction.

Of course, Rome represents only a small part of Italy's cultural output; it doesn't take into account Umberto Eco, Calvino, Svevo, or any number of great Italian film directors (many of whom came to Rome to work in the studios of Cinecittà), but there is no doubt that the capital has played a key part in the modern cultural development of the country.

As well as the links on the right, see also our film section, containing reviews of films set in Rome.