Travel tips for Creative People: Discover Rome’s Coolest Art Space

Rome it’s truly a hot mess. It’s so spread it’s hard to figure out where the creative crowd hangs out. So, here’s one of my travel tips for creative people on the go.

There are many diverse neighborhoods and scenes in Rome, but there are no “theme districts” or areas, if you see what I mean.

Without stuff like an Art District or the Alternative neighborhood, it’s just difficult to find out what are the cool places and events to go to.

If you are the artsy type and you’re not sure where to find yourself in Rome, just READ ON!

Contemporary Cluster Art Space Wall frescoes


Contemporary Cluster is located in the city’s historic center, in a 1600 3-story building. There are original frescos still intact on the walls, combined with modern architectural elements and design.

This is not your average art gallery. It’s a multifunctional space that has what regular art galleries continue to lack:  it’s an everyday hang out spot, where you can go have a drink and enjoy different kinds of exhibits –  from visual art to design and fashion –  on view simultaneously. 

You might happen to go there during an opening reception and catch a DJ set and Rome’s artsy crowd. Or simply check out the shows and have a casual, yet chic, aperitivo.

Whatever the showcase, they’re usually well curated because of the smart linking of different creative disciplines.

Opening Reception at Contemporary Cluster in Rome art design photography books

Recently I’ve become a regular and in the past week I’ve been to 2 pretty cool and very different events. Read on to get a feel of what to expect.


On Saturday November 10th I’ve attended a series of talks by the space’s Director Giacomo Guidi about the current exhibition, dedicated to the Bauhaus School.

Among the guest speakers there were renowned architect Ruggero Lenci and Roman artist Leonardo Crudi.

Bauhaus Application is the title of the show dedicated to the German School and installed throughout the space’s 3 floors.

It includes b/w archive photos of the school’s different locations, along with contemporary artworks inspired by the principles of form, light and color – applied to design, architecture and art – taught by masters such as Kandinskij, Mies van der Rohe, and Moholy-Nagy, among many others.

Bauhaus Conference at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Bauhaus conference at Contemporary Cluster art space in rome

artist interview at Contemporary cluster in Rome

But Why Bauhaus Application?

Because at the Bauhaus creativity was applied to real life and, in turn, it had to serve an actual function. That’s the idea that spawned the Functionalist and Rationalist architectural and design styles, in which every element has a precise objective.

Photography, fashion, design, light installation, site-specific and bi-dimentional works take over the whole space, seeking ways to build a continuity with the Bauhaus’ theories.

The show aims at pointing out the immense legacy that the Bauhaus experience left to our contemporary visual artists, designers and architects.

Leonardo Crudi work on display at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

artist Leonardo Crudi artworks on view at contemporary cluster in Rome

Virginia among the public at Contemporary Cluster conference on bauhaus

Public at Conference on Bauhaus at Contemporary Cluster in Rome



This one’s juicy!

On Tuesday the 13th I went to take some photos at Drago Publisher‘s book launch of This is Los Angeles, the photo catalog by Estevan Oriol, THE master of LA street photography. On the walls some of the most iconic shots present in the book.

Drago Publisher’s events are always cool. And this one was awesome! Estevan Oriol was there and it was such an honor to shake his hand and realize that he’s the man you’d expect when looking at his photographs: super laid back, down-to-earth and pretty badass!

Estevan Oriol Portrait by Virginia Villari at Contemporary Cluster Rome

Book This is Los Angeles by Estevan Oriol Published by Drago

His pics express the rugged poetry of the streets of LA, which he’s been capturing for over 20 years.

The catalogue includes many faces that tell many stories, together with portraits of celebrities such as Eminem and Adrian Brody, whom Oriol’s eye stripped of their status by catching their moments of truth.

Estevan Oriol Photographs on display at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Estevan Oriol photo exhibition at Contemporary Cluster Rome

Ice T photo as part of Estevan Oriol book This Is Los Angeles

Eminem as part of Estevan Oriol Photo Book This Is Los Angeles

The event vibe was super chilled and festive, with live DJ set and lots of beautiful art and people.

A crowd that in this city is usually hard to mix – art curators and critics, tattoo artists and Hells Angels crew members, among others – was happily drinking and chatting, while getting their catalog copy signed by the photographer.

Hell's Angels at Drago Publisher book launch at Contemporary Cluster Rome

ACAB tattoo at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

bikers and tattoos at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Public at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Public at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Public at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

LA symbol Photo by Estevan Oriol

Public at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

It was a pretty wild bunch and I had a real good time!

To get a copy of this amazing book just stop by Contemporary Cluster or, if you’re not in Rome, order your limited edition copy directly from Drago Publishers’ website. 

Virginia taking pics at Estevan Oriol book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome

Estevan Oriol Statement on view at book launch by Drago Publisher at Contemporary Cluster in Rome


Both shows are gonna be on view for a while, and more events are coming up at Contemporary Cluster.

Whether you live in Rome or you’re traveling to the Italian capital for business or pleasure, make sure to spare some time in your schedule to check out this unique place.

Have drink, relax and delight your eyes.

Contemporary Cluster
Via dei Barbieri, 7
00186, Rome.

If you have any questions about what’s good in Rome please shoot them in the comment section!

If you want more insider badass tips to live and travel in style check also London’s Ultimate Art and Food Experience.

Photographs: Virginia Villari © 2018 All Rights Reserved.

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