10 Fascinating Rome Museums

The Italian capital of Rome offers some of the best museums in Europe; here are our tips for ten Rome museums.

MAXXI Museum (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts)

MAXXI Museum was opened in 2010 and it contains paintings, photography and architectural works from both international and Italian artists. It was designed by architect Zaha Hadid (who also designed Glasgow’s Riverside Museum).

Rome museum

MAXXI Museum by mark hogan

Capitoline Museum

Capitoline Museum, founded in the late 1400s, famous for its Rome-related collections. Many of the early donations came from Popes, and it was opened to the public in 1734 by Pope Clement.

Centrale Montemartini

Centrale Montemartini was originally Rome’s first thermoelectric power plant, and was used as one until the 1970s. Its first exhibition, The machines and the gods, took place in 1997.  Centrale Montemartini was initially going to “lend” its space to the Capitoline Museum. However, the unusual mechanical background appealed to the visitors, and it is now considered to be both an extension of the Capitoline Museum, and a museum on its own, meant to transform the area it is in.Having studied at a university that was formerly a car factory, I can definitely understand the appeal of contrast and originality. Don’t miss out on it if you are in the Ostiense Marconi neighbourhood.

Rome museum

Centrale Montemartini by Kimberly Sullivan

Napoleonic Museum

The Napoleonic Museum mostly features works of art belonging to the Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars, and the memorabilia portraying the relationship between Rome and Napoleon’s family. The museum is open through Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9 am to 7 pm.

Vatican Museums

Founded in early 1500s, the Vatican Museums can impress even those who are not particularly fond of spending their time indoors appreciating art. Vatican Museums contain Greco-Roman sculptures, Raphael rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and more. Don’ t forget to buy some stamps at the Vatican post office during your visit to the city.

Rome museum

Vatican Museum by ccheviron

National Gallery of Modern Art

While the MAXXI Museum offers all the finest contemporary art, the National Gallery of Modern Art combines history with modern times. Founded in 1883, the museum aims to present comprehensive collections (international and Italian)  from the 19th and 20th centuries. Located on Viale delle Belle Arti, its ticket prices range from €4 to €12. The museum is open from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm, except for Mondays.

Galleria Borghese

You can visit Galleria Borghese (Borghese Gallery) in Villa Borghese mansion (on Piazzale del Museo). The museum is most famous for its Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculptures. The museum also displays paintings by Rubens, Lotto, Bassano, Correggio, Raphael, Titian, Savoldo, Caravaggio, Raphael, and more. The museum is open through Tuesdays to Sundays, from 8.30 to 7.30 pm.

Rome museum

Villa Borghese by Sabrina Campagna

Keats-Shelley Memorial House

Literature lovers might drop by the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, an apartment mainly dedicated to the relics of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and Leigh Hunt. English romantic poet Keats spent his last months in this apartment, before dying in 1821. The house, standing on the Spanish Steps, was opened to public in 1909. The house is open from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm, 2pm-6pm; and is open on Saturdays (11am-2pm and 3pm-6pm). You can visit the graves of Shelley and Keats at the Non Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome.

Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum

Castle Sant’Angelo is just that, a castle. Named after the statue of Archangel Micheal built on the top of the castle, Castle Sant’ Angelo was used quite creatively throughout its history. It was originally designed as a Mausoleum for Hadrian, the 14th Emperor of Rome. It was later used as a fortress, prison and a residence until it became a museum in the early 20th century. The Museum is open from 9am to 7.30 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

Rome museum

Castel Sant’Angelo by Penn State Libraries Collection

National Etruscan Museum

Founded in 1889, the National Etruscan Museum displays ancient art from the pre-Rome period, belonging to Etruria, Latium and Umbria. Exhibitions include pottery, caskets, jewelery, sculptures and more. Open from 8:30am-7:30pm, Tuesday through to Sunday.

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