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Top Museums in Rome

The Museums You Must See on a Visit to Rome

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Rome's museums contain everything from ancient sculpture to modern art so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here is a list of the top museums to visit on a trip to Rome. Click on the links below to learn more about each museum, including visiting information.

1. National Roman Museum

baths of dioclesian pictures, roman bath pictures, roman tomb pictures
by SecretGardensItaly, used by permission

Spread over several locations, including the Baths of Diocletian, the Palazzo Altemps, the Palazzo Massimo, and the Crypta Balbi, the National Roman Museum preserves coins, statues, sarcophagi, earthenware, frescoes, mosaics, jewelry, and other relics of Rome, from the imperial and Republican periods through medieval times.  Many of the items on display were unearthed from the Roman and Imperial Fora as well as from outposts from the greater Roman Empire.

2. National Gallery of Modern Art

Known in Italian as the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, this modern art museum features art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Italian artists, including Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Burri, and Luigi Pirandello, are well represented in the National Gallery’s collection, as are famous international artists such as Goya, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Kandinsky.  

3. MAXXI Museum

The MAXXI Museum is Rome’s newest museum. Designed by star architect Zaha Hadid, the MAXXI opened in 2010 in the northern part of Rome and features art from the 21st century. Art works in the MAXXI museum include paintings, photography, and multimedia installations from renowned Italian and international contemporary artists. The museum also contains an architectural archive for significant contributions to architecture from the 20th century to the present.

4. Galleria Borghese

This museum on the grounds of the beautiful Villa Borghese Park is known for its fine collection of classical sculptures, in particular Bernini’s delicate marble of Apollo and Daphne and his determined David, and Canova’s marble depiction of a reclining Pauline Bonaparte. Paintings in the gallery include ones by Raphael, Caravaggio, Correggio, and other master Renaissance painters. Most of the gallery’s art works were acquired by the nephew of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who used the villa as a summer house in the 17th century.

5. Capitoline Museums

constantine-capitoline.jpg
by Melanie Renzulli

Located on the Campidoglio, Rome’s Capitol Hill, the Capitoline Museums contain many treasures from antiquity as well as many archeological finds from Rome and its environs. Some of the most famous pieces contained within the Capitoline are fragments and a bust from a colossal statue of Constantine; a gigantic equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius; and an ancient sculpture of twins Romulus and Remus suckling a She Wolf. The Capitoline Museums also house displays of ancient coins, sarcophagi, epigraphs, and a picture gallery (pinacoteca), which has paintings from Caravaggio, Titian, and Rubens.

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