Rome is often referred to as an open-air museum, due to its excesses of outdoor ancient ruins, renaissance churches and other treasured architecture from the Etruscans to the Roman Empire. Due to this rich history, it is important to know the sense for history and knowledge of what you see! For example, visiting the well-established Vatican and Capitoline Museum. This page will provide an overview of the essential and also lesser known museums and galleries that Rome has to offer.
art, archaeology, history, must-visit, family friendly, religion
Possess the most extraordinary and extensive collections of the Catholic church. Located in the Vatican City State, the museums have been named as one of the most important museums to visit in the world. Over the centuries, popes have collected paintings, mosaics, sculptures, and frescoes since the Renaissance up until the 12the century- they are perfectly preserved and exhibited in various rooms across Vatican City. Frescoed by Michelangelo, The Sistine Chapel alone is a reason to visit the Vatican Museums.
historical, art, sculpture, time-filling
A historical art museum made up of two buildings and possessing a sculpture collection that is known as Italys finest. The Capitoline museums tells the fascinating story of the Eternal City. They hold work from ancient Rome to the Renaissance. They include the iconic symbol of Rome – the “She-Wolf”(Lupa Capitolina) and the “Ritratto di Carlo I d’Angiò de Arnolfo di Cambio” (1277), the first sculpture of a living person, featured in the mansion.
art, renaissance, sculpture, outdoor
The Borghese Gallery is regarded as one of the most fascinating art museums in Italy, houses in the beautiful Villa Borghese; a mansion build in the 1600’s. The building’s gardens are also a popular attraction, and featured in Villa Borghese- the third largest park in Rome. It holds works from Raphael, Bernini and Carvaggio. The gallery is also home to a considerable part of the Borghese collection of sculptures and antiquities.
historical, art, kids, terrace view, café, outdoor
Castel Sant’Angelo is dedicated to the history of Rome from the 14th century. Built in 123 AD, the museum takes you through the violence and war that was experienced and boasts perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period. There are also displays extensive collections of armoury and weaponry. If you are looking for a place to bring children, they will be delighted to discover the impressive cannons and cannonballs dating back
must-visit, historical, archaeological, time-consuming
The metaphorical and most famous symbol of Rome: The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill. All situated just a 5-minute walk from each-other, one ticket can easily get you entrance into the 3 museums. Considered as the birthplace of the Italian capital, you can appreciate the political style of living, the sophisticated religious practices, and the archeological buildings of the 10th century. This visit is a must-see for an insight into the ancient culture of Rome.
architecture, must-visit, quick-visit, family-friendly, history, cathedral
The pantheon is correctly regarded as one of the most fascinating historical places of Rome. It is also the best-preserved building of ancient Rome. Pan (all) Theon (Gods) – the building was originally a monumental temple dedicated to Gods, and then became a basilica with a rich and complex history. This visit can be brief and is family-friendly- perfectly located in central Rome, just steps from the Trevi district.
modern art, fun, kids, family friendly, for students, artists
MAXXI was the first national museum of contemporary art in Italy. Rome offers many museums of Ancient and Italian Renaissance art and architecture, so the MAXXI museum is a pleasant change. The collection includes over 60,000 drawings, 75,000 photographs and many sculptures and books- adding to the vision of Italian contemporary architecture and experimentation. The famous neo-futurist structure is spectacular and worth the visit alone.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
architectural buildings, art, history, elderly-friendly, fine art
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is less known than other museums but is an impressive art and history museum. It is home to one of Rome’s richest art and sculpture collections, including works from Titian and Raphael. The most famous work is Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent the 10th – but the fascinating art dates mainly from the 16th and 17th century.
National Gallery of Modern Art
family friendly, contemporary, art, fun
The National Gallery of Modern Art is the only museum in the country dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It is the largest and most diverse of Italy’s art collection, housing over 5,000 sculptures and 4,400 paintings. Spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the work held in the National Gallery illustrates the evolution of art through each time period. From Neoclassicism to Surrealism, the museum holds works by famous Italian and international artists- Van Gogh, Monet, and Giacomo Balla – to name a few.
Baths of Diocletian
historical, sculpture, art, quick-visit, outdoor
The largest bath complex of Ancient Rome, the Baths of Diocletian was commissioned by the Emperor Diocletian in 298 AD. The baths took up over 120,000m2, but today only a small section of well-preserved curated marble can be visited. The remains interior is most impressive, including impressive sculptures and two tombs decorated with frescoes and stucco- believed to date from the second century AD. Outside, you can find the sixteenth century garden with around 400 works of art and statues.
Other art museums in Rome
Museo di Roma in Trastevere
Musei di villa torlonia
Other fine art museums in Rome
Museo di Roma
National museums of Rome
Baths of dioceltian
Thermae of Caracalla
Chiostro Del Bramante
Lesser known Rome museums
National Etruscan museum – early roman artefact
Museum of Pasta