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Neighborhoods of Rome, Vienna, and Madrid

Discovering Hidden Gems

Evening Program

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2084A
$35 - Member
$45 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

Palazzo Doria Pamphilij, Rome (left), Vienna from St. Stephen Cathedral (right), and Egyptian Temple of Debod, Madrid (bottom)

Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally May 28, 2020).

Rome, Vienna, and Madrid were once the capital cities of vast empires. Each gathered within its confines the best artists, architects, thinkers, scientists, and chefs. All of them created deep roots in these cities, leaving treasures and pleasures often overlooked by visitors who spend their time in world-famous sites such as the Sistine Chapel, the Vienna State Opera, and the Prado. But it’s the off-the-beaten-track corners of these cities where unexpected gems await discovery.

Fred Plotkin, a popular Smithsonian Associates speaker on culture, history, and music, has lived in and visited Rome, Vienna, and Madrid over more than four decades. Join him for a richly illustrated series in which he looks at these places through the eyes of a flâneur—a French term for a person whose casual strolls through city streets produce delight in their chance discoveries. He shares what he’s found on his neighborhood walks: churches, theaters, specialty shops, restaurants, cafes, and unusual museums just a stone’s throw from world-famous landmarks.



Italy’s capital probably has more art than any other city, ranging from Etruscan times to the present. In addition to its famous museums, Rome has splendid collections such as the Doria Pamphilij, Colonna, and Accademia di San Luca. It’s also a city of more than 900 churches and boasts a district where priests and nuns can buy the latest ecclesiastical fashions. Rome’s small neighborhood markets provide a bounty of delicious foods that cannot be found in restaurants. Just outside the capital are EUR, a fascinating district built by Mussolini, and Cinecittà (Film City) the dream factory of Italian cinema.

If you are interested in additional sessions to this course, please click here.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)