May 29, 2013

Via Mario De' Fiori

Via Mario de' Fiori
Via Mario de' Fiori
Those who enjoy walking near Piazza di Spagna likely know of or have walked along "Via Mario de' Fiori", one of the first roads leaving Via Condotti (see photo).

No one pays particular attention to the name of this street believing it was dedicated to some famous member of the family "De Fiori" ("Mario De Fiori" is an Italian name and is translatable to something like "Marius O'Flowers").  But the names of the streets of Rome, especially in the old city, often reveal some curiosity.  This is true for Via Mario de’ Fiori.

In the second half of the 1600s Mario Nuzzi lived on the street now known as Via Mario de’ Fiori.   He was a rather good painter from the Abruzzi region of Italy who specialized in portraying a single subject ... You may have already figured out the subject we're talking about: yes, the flowers!

Romans, always shrewd in spirit, were not particularly fond of the painter’s real name.  They preferred to pin a nickname on him, and as a result, the painter was referred to by everyone as the Mario "of the flowers" (in italian, Mario "dei fiori").  Thus, Via Mario de’ Fiori could easily have been called Via Mario Nuzzi.
A painting by Mario De' Fiori (Florence, palazzo Pitti)
A painting by Mario De' Fiori (Florence, palazzo Pitti)
Now that you know why the street is called Via Mario de' Fiori, you should know more about the painter and his work.  For instance, although his paintings were excellent works (see photo), the paint he used was likely of a poor quality.  In fact, after a very short time many of his paintings faded to grey or in some cases the paint melted entirely and ruined the painting.  So it's easy now to understand this joke cracked by the people of Rome: "the flowers painted by Mario wither like the real ones"!

For this reason, there are few "surviving" paintings by our friend Mario making them very highly valued and sought after works for collectors.

Via Mario de' Fiori is here.

No comments :

Post a Comment