bentoninn Adventure Encountering Hidden Gems In The Best Museums In Rome

Encountering Hidden Gems In The Best Museums In Rome

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The entire city of Rome can be considered an open-air museum thanks to its glorious array of century-old monuments and archaeological sites. Some of the best museums in Rome are packed with dazzling treasures from Michelangelo and Rafael to ancient relics from the Etruscans.

If you’re seeking to get your culture-fix way beyond monuments like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, check out this curated list of the best art museums in Rome.

Quick Jumplinks

  • The National Museum of Rome
  • Villa Farnesina
  • Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
  • Galleria Borghese
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica
  • The Capitoline Museums
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia
  • Vatican Museums
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Here Are The Best Museums in Rome, Italy

From marveling at gorgeous paintings at the Sistine Chapel to uncovering Rome’s largest collection of artifacts, here’s an ode to the must-see museums in Rome.

The National Museum of Rome

KEY INFO

📍 Address Largo di Villa Peretti, 2, 00185. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Repubblica or Termini, Line A
🤑 Ticket Price € 10
⏱ Opening Hours Tuesday-Friday: 9:30 AM-7 PM. Closed on Mondays

Want to start your trip by diving deep into the glorious history of Rome? Then the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Roman Museum) is the place to be. This amazingly curated museum has four branches in separate buildings throughout the city — Palazzo Altemps, Baths of Diocletian, Crypta Balbi, and Palazzo Massimo

A former aristocratic mansion located in Campo Marzio, just a few steps from Piazza Navona, Palazzo Altemps is dedicated to the history of art collecting, and since the 16th-century the building has been harboring a rich collection of classical sculptures, some of the most beautiful in Europe.

Built between 298 and 306 AD, the Baths of Diocletian are impeccably preserved public baths commissioned by the emperor Maximian, who dedicated them to his co-emperor, Diocletian. The Baths were abandoned for approximately 1,000 years until 1561 when Pope Pius IV demanded the construction of a church and a charterhouse on the site, entrusting the project to the one and only Michelangelo.

Once a theatre erected between 19 and 13 BC under Lucius Cornelius Balbus, Crypta Balbi now houses a museum featuring objects from the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as displays of relics found during the excavation of the site. 

Last but not least, there’s Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme, whose architectural plan was inspired by the whimsical palaces of the 16th-century. Built between 1883 and 1887 by the Jesuit priest Massimiliano Massimo, the museum has four floors and endless wonders to discover, including sculptures, reliefs, frescos, mosaics, and excavations undertaken in Rome and the surrounding region from 1870 onwards.

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Villa Farnesina

Best Museums In Rome: Villa Farnesina

KEY INFO

📍 Address Via della Lungara, 230. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Bus from Nazionale/Quattro Fontane to Chiesa Nuova
🤑 Ticket Price € 12 for adults. Free for disabled visitors and children under 10
⏱ Opening Hours Monday-Saturday: 9 AM-2 PM (last entry at 1:15 PM )

One of the most stunning buildings that remain from the Renaissance period in Rome, Villa Farnesina is a truly special sight. The mansion, erected between 1505 and 1511 in the district of Trastevere, is a beguiling place mostly due to its luxurious decoration featuring frescos by artists like Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Peruzzi. In fact, one of the villa’s highlights is the first floor’s Sala di Galatea, which harbors a horoscope vault by Baldassarre Peruzzi, showing the positions of the stars on the day of the birth of Chigi, the villa’s first owner.

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Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

Best Museums In Rome: Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

KEY INFO

📍 Address Via del Corso, 305, 00186. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Bus 64 from Termini to Piazza Venezia
🤑 Ticket Price € 17
⏱ Opening Hours Mon-Thu: 9 AM-7 PM (last entry at 6 PM)
On Fri, Sat, and Sun: 10 AM-8 PM (last entry at 7 PM)

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj houses one of the most alluring private art collections in Rome. Set within a gorgeous palazzo nestled between Via del Corso and Via della Gatta, the museum is home to a selection of paintings, furniture, and statuary that has been assembled since the 16th century by the Doria, Pamphilj, Landi, and Aldobrandini families.

In the heart of the palazzo, you’ll find the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, an exhibition space with four wings overlooking internal courtyards, as well as two large adjoining halls — the Aldobrandini Room and the Room of the “Primitives. The gallery is where most of the masterpieces of the Doria Pamphilj family’s private art collection are held, so expect to come across treasures like paintings by Gaspard Poussin, canvases by the Florentine Renaissance painter Giuliano Bugiardini, two busts of the Pope carved in marble by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and gold-framed Venetian mirrors.

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Galleria Borghese

Best Museums In Rome: Galleria Borghese

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Spagna Station
🤑 Ticket Price € 13
⏱ Opening Hours Closed on Mon. Tue-Sun: 9 AM-7 PM (10 PM on Wed)

Set amidst the lush grounds of Villa Borghese Park, the Borghese Gallery plays host to a dazzling collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621).  

Within the elegant palace where the gallery is set, expect to come across a plethora of paintings by renowned Italian artists such as Bernini, Caravaggio, Canova, and Raphael. Highlights include iconic works such as “Young Sick Bacchus” “David with the Head of Goliath” by Caravaggio, and “La Fornarina”, by Raphael. The museum also houses marvelous sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Canova.

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Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica

Best Museums In Rome: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica

KEY INFO

📍 Address Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13, 00184. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Barberini Station
🤑 Ticket Price € 15
⏱ Opening Hours Closed on Mon. Tue-Sun: 10 AM-7 PM (last entry at 6 PM)

The National Galleries of Ancient Art (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica), are a single museum institution divided between the Palazzo Corsini and Palazzo Barberini. Set within a late-baroque palace built for the Corsini family between 1730 and 1740, the Corsini Gallery displays the only collection of paintings in Rome dating from the 1700s that remains intact to this day. There, you’ll stumble upon masterpieces by Caravaggio, Reni, Guercino, Rubens, and van Wittel, as well as works by Italian artists from the 1500s and paintings by his contemporaries.

The Palazzo Barberini became the second venue of the National Gallery of Antique Art in 1953 and features works from the principal Italian schools of painting from the 1200s to the 1700s. Well-represented are the 1500s and 1600s centuries, with works by Raphael, Piero di Cosimo, Bronzino, Hans Holbein, Lorenzo Lotto, Tintoretto, as well as Caravaggio and his followers. 

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The Capitoline Museums

Best Museums In Rome: Capitoline Museums

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza del Campidoglio, 1. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
🤑 Ticket Price €14–16
⏱ Opening Hours Daily, 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Known as “Musei Capitolini”, the Capitoline Museums are a number of museums located in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, on top of the Capitoline Hill. This renowned cultural institution dates back to 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV donated a collection of bronze statues to the People of Rome, and it displays a plethora of great treasures including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyck, and works found during excavations around Rome.

A must-visit is Palazzo dei Conservatori, home to the iconic statue of the she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus, which is the symbol of Rome.

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Castel Sant’Angelo

Best Museums In Rome: Castel Sant'Angelo

KEY INFO

📍 Address Lungotevere Castello, 50. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take buses 23 or 40 to Lgt Tor Di Nona/Rondinella
🤑 Ticket Price € 20.50
⏱ Opening Hours Tue-Sun: 9 AM-7:30 PM. Closed on Mon.

Nestled on the right bank of the Tiber River, at the end of Ponte Sant’Angelo, for almost 2000 years, Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum commissioned by Roman Emperor Hadrian for himself and his family.

With the passing of the years, the structure was used as a fortress to protect Rome during the Middle Ages, the pope’s residence, and prison until it finally became a museum — the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo.

The museum harbors a myriad of fascinating relics such as medieval weapons, furniture, ceramics, paintings, and other Renaissance objects.

After browsing through the museum, be sure to visit the roof terrace, which has not only a drop-dead beautiful bronze statue of archangel Michael but also offers the most show-stopping views of Rome!

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National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

Best Museums In Rome: National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazzale di Villa Giulia 9, 00196. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take tram 19 and get off at Museo Etrusco Villa Giulia
🤑 Ticket Price € 12
⏱ Opening Hours Tue-Sun: 9 AM-8 PM (last entry 7 PM)

This lesser-known museum is the ultimate destination for those seeking to explore Rome’s hidden gems. Located in the idyllic Villa Giulia, built for Pope Julius III, the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia houses a stellar collection of pre-Roman antiquities of Latium, southern Etruria, and Umbria belonging to the Etruscan and Faliscan civilizations.

Relics you’ll find at this intriguing museum include the Sarcophagus of the Spouses, a massive terracotta sculpture created in 519 BC and considered one of the great masterpieces of Etruscan art, and the Head of Leucotea (470-460 BCE) is a female head statue that was once part of Temple A, in the ancient port of Caere (present-day Cerveteri, Italy)

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Vatican Museums

Best Museums In Rome: Sistine Chapel Ceiling, at Vatican City

KEY INFO

📍 Address 00120 Vatican City. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to the Ottaviano-S. Pietro Station
🤑 Ticket Price € 20
⏱ Opening Hours Mon-Sat: 8 AM – 7 PM (final entry 5 PM)

A visit to the Vatican is not complete without a few hours spent in the Vatican Museums, founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th-century. This dazzling collection of public museums includes the Sistine Chapel, famous for its show-stopping ceiling featuring gorgeous frescoes by Michelangelo, and wall paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Pietro Perugino

While discovering the museums, you’ll come across 20,000 works of art, including the most renowned Roman sculptures and the most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The must-sees? The Laocoön and His Sons statue, by Greek sculptures Apollo Belvedere Agesander, Athenodorus and Polydorus, Raphael’s “The School of Athens” painting, and “The Entombment of Christ”, by Caravaggio.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best museums to visit in Rome?

There are many famous museums in Rome, but some of the most popular include Vatican Museums, Colosseum and Roman Forum, Galleria Borghese, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Capitoline Museums.

Are there any guided tours available for the museums in Rome?

Yes, top museums in Rome offer guided tours, which can be a great way to learn more about the collections and exhibits. Tours can be booked online or directly at the museum.

Are there any lesser-known museums in Rome that offer unique experiences?

Absolutely! Rome is packed with hidden gems alongside world-famous museums. A few unique options include Museo Centrale Montemartini, The Keats-Shelley Memorial House, the Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, Casina delle Civette, and the National Museum of Pasta.

How can I get to the museums in Rome?

Rome has a good public transportation system, with buses and metro lines connecting most museums. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available.

Ritesh Raj

COO at CuddlyNest

Editorial Policy

Last update: 5 April 2024

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