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The Best of Rome in Melbourne

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by Melissa Duffy (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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Is the cost of a flight to Italy just too exorbitant? Do you find the thought of a 24 hour flight daunting? Well now you can experience the best of Rome right here in Melbourne.

See some Roman inspired Art

Piranesi Rome
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Rome: Piranesi's Vision is a free exhibition currently showing in the Keith Murdoch Gallery at the State Library of Victoria until 22 June 2014. There are over 100 works from 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, famous for his etching and engraving of some of Rome's most famous locations like the Pantheon and the Roman Forum.

Free. Open 10am–5pm daily (9pm on Thursdays).

See a Photographic Exhibition

A Traveller's Dream: Piranesi and Rome
Until the 30th April, The Italian Institute of Culture (located at 233 Domain Road, South Yarra) will be showcasing the work of award winning Italian photographer Graziano Panfili. His photographs depict locations inspired by Piranesi's etchings as well as modern day Roman architecture.

Hours: Mon-Thu 9.30am -12.30am & 2.30pm -5.30pm and Fri 9.30am -12.30pm

Free entry. For bookings please email bookings.iicmelbourne@esteri.it or check out their website.

Try an Ancient Sport


On Friday 28th of March from 12.00 to 2.00pm, in conjunction with its other Roman exhibits, State Library of Victoria's front lawn will be transformed into a Roman Piazza. Not only will you be able to eat like an Italian, with wood-fire pizza and gelato available, but you can also play like an Italian with a round of bocce. Emperor Augustus, Galileo and even Leonardo DaVinci were all avid fans of this ancient sport.

See a Film

While the State Library of Victoria is celebrating all things Rome, there will be free showings once a month from March to June of a film set in Rome. Bring your own refreshments and see the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck cycle past the Spanish Steps, Vittorio Emanuele II monument and other iconic sights in the 1953 classic Roman Holiday.

See website for more details and to book your free seat.

Roman Holiday Audrey Hepburn
Image: Wikimedia Commons

See an Award Winning Italian

The Great Beauty can now add an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film to its BAFTA, Golden Globe and string of other European awards it has picked up since its debut at last year's Cannes Film Festival. It is a stunning portrayal of the Eternal city and its characters continued quest for eternal life.


Still grasping to the notoriety that resulted from a lone literary achievement in his twenties, we first meet Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) celebrating his 65th birthday. A myriad of his botox infused party goers, both aged and vulgar and young and beautiful, dance on Jep's rooftop terrace which has one of the best views of the Colosseum.

All night parties are followed by sunrise walks home through the glorious city. But the news of the death of his first love has Jep questioning life, love and what is true beauty.

Be sure to stay for the closing credits and drift along the Tiber River past the Castle Sant'Angelo. You won't want to move until the cinema house lights awaken you from your Roman dream.
(MA15 ) Italian language, English subtitles.

Currently showing at Cinema Nova (380 Lygon Street, Carlton) which have the cheapest movie tickets in Melbourne on a Monday. Regular tickets are $6 for sessions before 4pm and $9 for sessions after 4pm (excluding public holidays and online bookings).

And what better place to see this Roman cinematic masterpiece than in the heart of Melbourne's Little Italy? Cinema Nova is located on Lygon Street, where there is no shortage of options to eat like an Italian.

Buon appetito!
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