A spontaneous reflection, at the end of a walk through the Villa Borghese with a stop in a strange building with battlemented walls that, like a medieval fortress, guards the green spaces of Piazza di Siena: it would only take a museum like the one dedicated to Pietro Canonica, although small, to make the glory of a city, and here it is instead in Rome where even the most insignificant rock has a story to tell. The work of the great sculptor from Moncalieri (1869-1959), conserved in the rooms where the master lived and worked from 1926 until his death, is for the most part unknown to tourists and even to the inhabitants of the city.
The unusual architecture of the Fortezzuola was used as a house and studio by the artist, who here realized a large part of the masterpieces which are today shown in a vast exhibit set up in seven rooms on the ground floor, from his grandiose celebratory works to his sketches, models and small portraits. On the second floor you can visit his apartment, rich with objects of art and valuable paintings. The piano which dominates the room is witness to another of the artist’s great passions, that for music, which pushed the sculptor to test himself once he set down the hammer and chisel with the composition of works like “Medea,” “The Bride of Corinth,” and “Sacred Ground.” Refined lover of beauty and stylistic perfection, Canonica, perhaps the last great interpreter of classic tradition, reveals an extraordinary capacity to shape material, bronze and marble, which – like an expert musician – he almost makes “sing.”
Some of his sculptures, like the famous group of “The Abyss” which represents the embrace of two bodies on the brink of a chasm, seem animated by an intense interior life and by an expressive force that the master, thanks to an exquisite esthetic taste and to an exceptional mastery of technique, is able to impress on the forms, provoking deep emotions. A special example of a house-museum, the Fortezzuola of the Villa Borghese offers an important opportunity to rediscover one of the many hidden treasures which the city, recognizing itself especially in the showy beauty of its most famous sites, too often overlooks. Viale Pietro Canonica, 2.