Roaming Rome

Via Appia Imaginaria by Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Roaming Rome Architects as tourists in the Eternal City

Image: © Victoria and Albert Museum


As epicentre of the Roman Empire, seat of the Roman Catholic Church and 21st century style capital, Rome has always been a city without comparison. The remarkable architectural melange of the city is a bewildering jumble of time periods. Medieval palaces cling to Roman ruins while Renaissance and Baroque churches compete for attention with modern interventions and Fascist parade grounds inserted into Rome's ancient fabric.

For architects from the 16th century onwards, Rome was at the centre of the Grand Tour, an educational rite of passage to study, sketch and mull over the wonders of the world. Inspiration from their time spent in Rome can be seen in work of architects in cities around the globe.

All the images in this online workshop come from the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the RIBA, and each one tells a small part of the story of Rome: how it was seen by the artist at the time it was drawn, painted or photographed.  


Guiding questions

  • How has Rome inspired architects and architecture?
  • How can a survey of drawings help us better appreciate Rome's architecture and different approaches to drawing?
  • How have the methods of capturing Rome changed, and how have these changes altered Rome's influence?


About the online workshops

'Roaming Rome' is one of several online workshops that explore different themes in architecture and are based on material from the collections of the RIBA and V&A. Visit the collections in person, or see them online at RIBApix and V&A Images. Workshops can be organised for visiting groups as part of the RIBA's collections-based education programme - contact the Education Curator for more information:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7307 3732


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