10 Must-See Museums in Rome
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10 Must-See Museums in Rome

Rome is a city filled with beauty and history that you do not have the opportunity to see anywhere else in the world. Much of the city’s most prized possessions can be found in its museums. While you are here it would be a shame to miss out on the best museums in Rome! From marvelous ancient sculptures to new and contemporary pieces, Rome has a museum for everyone. Here is a list of Rome’s most fascinating collections so that you can make the most of your time in the eternal city!

1. The Vatican Museums

We recommend that a stop at the Vatican Museums is first on your list like it is first on ours! The Vatican contains collections of art gathered by Popes over centuries. It hosts a wide variety of sculptures, paintings, archeological finds and more, all displayed inside the most exceptional and artistic rooms. Whether it is the art itself or the design of the room you stand in, there is a not an inch of the Vatican Museums that is not awe-inspiring. This extensive collection contains some of the most exclusive exhibits of artworks from around the world. Inside you will recognize famous works like that of Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and many more. Check out this Vatican Museums tour so you can best plan your trip for this remarkable experience. 

2. Borghese Gallery Museum

Inside the beautiful Gardens of Villa Borghese, lies an equally stunning collection of artworks. The Borghese Gallery Museum was built in 1613 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese to store his own private compilation of ancient and modern works. Inside you will find Rome’s largest and finest collection of Caravaggio works such as the famous, David with the Head of Goliath. You can also get an up-close look at statues by Bernini, who somehow makes marble sculptures look soft to the touch as well as many more rare and exquisite pieces. 

3. Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini

While Rome hosts a multitude of famous works from all over the world, this museum gives you an opportunity to explore the most magnificent Italian works of art through the centuries. This unique museum is split into two galleries and is designed to be a passeggiata (walk) through the 13th to the 18th centuries of Italy. Time travel through different eras of history like Gothic and Renaissance as you move down the halls. Do not miss out on these incredible collections or the rich stories of Italy that these galleries have to offer. 

4. Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Hill was once a hub for ancient Roman life. It has served as center for many civic and political practices. Today it stores many Roman antiquities and artworks, and it is the world’s oldest public museum. Here you can get a fascinating snapshot of Roman art history as the majority of this exhibit was either excavated in Rome, created in Rome, or made by a Roman artist. Check out its two buildings in the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo to experience the rich history of Rome through this expansive selection. 

5. Castel Sant’Angelo, The Mausoleum of Hadrian

This museum’s collection is equally as fascinating as the history of the location itself. Before Castel Sant’Angelo took on the role of Museum it was originally built as the tomb of Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century. The structure got its current name, meaning Castel of the Angel, in the 6th century when it is said Archangel Michael appeared above the structure and, with the sheath of his sword, ended a deadly plague that tormented the people of Ancient Rome. The castle’s history takes more fascinating (and some gruesome) twists and turns and plays a prominent part in the story of the Eternal City. Be sure to visit this monument and take the time to appreciate the captivating art it now holds inside. 

6. La Galleria Nazionale 

It is obvious that Rome holds an abundance of ancient and classical artworks, but do not overlook the more current artistic scene of the eternal city. The National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome is comprised of over 20,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and prints from the greatest artists of the last two centuries. The gallery’s purpose when it opened was to offer a space for art to thrive away from the constraints of academia. Because of this fundamental value, the museum stands out from many other in Rome and offers visitors a unique experience. Here you can witness the evolution of art through the most recent decades and stay up to date with what artistic styles are trending today.  

7. Doria Pamphilj Gallery 

This special palace was once home to many princesses and princes of the Phamphilj family and still houses some of the family’s current descendants. Over the years the family accumulated a magnificent collection of artwork and décor. Apart from famous the works of art from Bernini, Rafael, Memling, and more, the palace itself is a masterwork. You can find a gorgeous tranquil fountain in the courtyard and elegant architectural details all throughout the gallery rooms. Be sure to pay attention to the ceilings in each room as they are a stunning enhancement to the overall experience. 

8. Centrale Montemartini Museum

This museum hosts a unique mix of artworks from the classical era contrasted with industrial machinery. The building was once Rome’s very first electrical power plant.  Many pieces of equipment have been preserved since its days of operation such as turbines, diesel engines, and steam boilers. Placed alongside the massive mechanical equipment, are beautiful marble sculptures from the classical era of Rome. Both the industrial and classical pieces are durable, man-made materials that have stood the test of time, yet portray completely different stories of Rome. Do not miss out on Rome’s most thought-provoking museum and boldest juxtaposition of art. 


This is another unconventional museum, but this time of the 21st century. Designed by the controversial architect Zaha Haddid, this museum is a distinct and fascinating artistic experience both inside and out. The building itself is composed of large overlapping segments that surprisingly create flowing pathways inside to seamlessly guide visitors from display to display. Featured inside the museum is a multitude of bold and inspiring contemporary artworks. Be sure to check out this collection to explore the immerging artistic scene in Rome.

10. Musei di Villa Torlonia

Like the artwork inside, this Museum has a rich and interesting history. It’s main building, the Casino Nobile was once home the great Mussolini. You can visit the restored bomb shelter and gas shelter that Mussolini installed during his residency. The complex was later purchased by the Torlonia noble family in the 18th century who played a large role in the history of Italy. Now this home hosts an abundance of rare artworks and archives. This collection is unlike anything else you will find in Rome!

Rome has a wealth of cultural and artistic experiences for everyone who visits. All museums are distinct to the feeling of Eternal city, yet they all offer a vast array of experiences. All roads lead back to Rome, and this is shown in the city’s ties to art history around the world. Therefore, in Rome you can get a taste of not only Italian art, but art from all over the globe. Here you can explore different eras of art history inside gorgeous and historically significant structures while also witnessing immerging contemporary artistic styles. These are just some museums that you cannot miss during your trip to this remarkable city, but there are many more to explore. Along with the museums Rome has to offer, be sure to check out the many fascinating exhibitions in Rome as well! Enjoy your time discovering all that Rome has to offer!

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