LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 12/27/12 -- The Maxxi Museum in Rome has been saved from closure after it was bought by Italy's Culture Ministry. This wonderful feat of modern architecture, a gift to the world of contemporary art, has won awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and houses work from acclaimed artists including Anish Kapoor, Gerhard Richter, Marlene Dumas and Vanessa Beecroft. The museum will be overseen in the future by architect Antonia Pasqua Recchia.
Designed by Zaha Hadid as an interdisciplinary arts space, this building offers the perfect antidote for visitors to Rome who yearn for a change after being immersed in historic architecture. However, those who still like a bit of tradition alongside their hyper-modern art should visit the Villa Medici, which offers a 16th-century garden with a beautiful view of St Peter's Basilica. The building now houses the French Academy in Rome, making it a fabulous destination for culture vultures looking to soak up some art while on holiday.
After a day of enjoying Rome's art scene, relax in style at the Hotel Hassler. This super-chic hotel offers fine dining and a spa, so even if you're not staying there, you can revel in some of its top-notch facilities. As well as being a fabulous spot to meet for a drink or a meal, it's also located at the top of the Spanish Steps, a stone's-throw away from the Via Condotti, where all of the major designer brands have their stores.
For an atmospheric dinner after your day of cultural indulgence, try the Enoteca Il Goccetto near Campo de Fiori, where the owner, Sergio Ceccarelli, carefully selects wines from smaller Italian vineyards - there's a list of more than 1,000 to choose from. Look out for real gourmet treats on the menu, such as mortadella with truffles.
Alternatively, if a Roman holiday doesn't appeal, you could always vacate to Venice, another of Italy's best-loved destinations for arts and culture, boasting the iconic Basilica of San Marco as well as the prestigious Peggy Guggenheim Museum, located at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, home to famous works from artists such as Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Pollock and Max Ernst.
Flights to Rome with Monarch Airlines start from just GBP 36 per person, departing from London Luton and Birmingham airports. Flights to Venice with Monarch are also available from just GBP 34 per person. For more information about affordable flights to Rome, Venice and other great destinations worldwide, visit www.monarch.co.uk.
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