During my first road trip in the United States in 2010 I made a quick visit to Philadelphia, but besides Rocky Steps I didn’t remember much of the city. I decided to fresh up my memory and go there for a weekend. Being a typical escape destination from New York, I went there with plenty of suggestions to explore. The center is very easy to explore, everything revolves around the City Hall that divides the Old City from Rittenhouse Square, an animated area during the nights.
After a walk around and a Philly Cheese steak I moved to cultural activities gently offered by Dr. Albert Barnes, who made a fortune in the pharmaceutical world and then started to invest his money in art. His collection of Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh is just beyond imagination. He was travelling personally to Paris, meeting the artists and buying directly from them.
Matisse even painted a mural for the arches above his house windows. But what stands out in this place is the arrangement of the paintings, personally designed by him with a curious mixture between them, metalwork and furniture. The result is an immersive experience, deeper than the visit of a normal museum. The painting arrangement is such a big part of it that when in 2012 the collection moved from Merion to Philadelphia, the new galleries replicate the dimensions and layouts of the original space, just adding new zen gardens, fountains and a stone enclosure. Philadelphia deserves a visit just to see this gem.