Rome: Chiara Ferragni reignites debate with visit to Palazzo Barberini

Italian influencer visits one of Rome's most important museums.

Chiara Ferragni, Italy's most popular influencer on Instagram, paid a visit to Palazzo Barberini, one of the finest museums in Rome, on 1 September.

Why is this newsworthy, you may ask? Well because the last time Ferragni visited a museum, the Uffizi in July, she unleashed days of debate on social media, with purists slamming the Uffizi director Eike Schmidt for posting images of the influencer in front of the Botticelli masterpiece Primavera.

Schmidt was accused by one art historian, Tomaso Montanari, of "trash" communication, a stance ridiculed by Florence mayor Dario Nardello who stated that Ferragni would always be welcome.

"Indeed, in such a difficult moment," Nardella said, "anyone who wants to support our culture and share the treasures of Florence with the rest of the world is welcome.”

In the end it was Schmidt who had the last laugh, as visitor numbers at the Uffizi boomed in the days after the influencer's visit.

Ticket sales increased by 27 per cent, with many of the visitors young people and teenagers, in a phenomenon described as the "Ferragni Effect."

Chiara Ferragni at Palazzo Barberini

With more than 20 million followers, Ferragni has built a global brand alongside her husband, the superstar rapper Fedez.

Now it is Rome's turn to reignite the debate over how museums should manage their social media, and whether indeed anybody has the right to tell them how to do so.

Preempting any such discussion, Palazzo Barberini proudly posted two pictures of Ferragni visiting the museum, which is under the aegis of Italy's culture ministry, alongside the caption:

"Will controversy arise? She is Chiara Ferragni and she has chosen to visit Palazzo Barberini to discover one of the most important Roman museums. And when will you come to discover our wonders?"

The museum pictures the influencer admiring Caravaggio's Judith and Oleferne (1597-1602) and Sacred Love and Profane Love (1602) by Giovanni Baglione.

Ferragni also posted an image of herself on Instagram under the celebrated ceiling fresco Allegory of Divine Providence, painted in 1633 by Pietro da Cortona, following her "beautiful morning" at the Rome museum.

Palazzo Barberini

The 17th-century Barberini Palace, located in the city centre, houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Italy's national collection of 13th- to 16th-century paintings.

The museum contains a multitude of masterpieces including works by Bronzino, Caravaggio, Carracci, El Greco, Holbein the Younger, Lotto and Raphael.

It also boasts the Square Staircase by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the Helicoidal Staircase by Francesco Borromini. For visiting details see Palazzo Barberini website.

General Info

Address Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome: Chiara Ferragni reignites debate with visit to Palazzo Barberini

Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13, 00187 Roma RM, Italy