Museums and Galleries
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
So what do you want to see? Egyptian mummies? Etruscan gold? Greek marbles? Medieval tapestries? Renaissance paintings? How about a moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission? It’s all here in abundance, the best of the best, in the 7 miles of galleries which make up the Vatican Museums. Including the famous Raphael rooms and of course Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. From Easter to late October, we suggest that you go in the afternoon, when the crowds are much lighter, and if possible, to avoid Saturday entirely.
Viale del Vaticano (tel. 06 69883332; www.vatican.va). Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm (admission until 4pm). Open and free on the last Sunday of the month (9am-2pm (admission until 12.30pm). Closed Catholic holidays. €16; €8 reduced (26 or under with ISIC card). Metro A: Ottaviano or Cipro-Musei Vaticani, or bus 23, 81, 271, 492, tram 19 to Piazza Risorgimento.
ACEA- Centrale Montemartini
Important pieces from the Capitoline collection of ancient sculpture, displayed among the machinery of an old power plant. Think of it as “Venus in the Boiler Room”. Via Ostiense, 106 (06 5748030). Open Tu-Sun 9:30am-7pm. €6.50 (or €14 for a joint ticket including entrance to the Capitoline Museum). Bus 23, 271, or Metro B: Piramide.
Made up of two separate buildings: the Palazzo Nuovo houses an incredibly rich collection of Roman sculpture (including the original of the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius); the Palazzo dei Conservatori houses more ancient sculpture (including the Capitoline She-Wolf) as well as Renaissance and Baroque art. Also part of the museum complex is the Tabularium, the 78 BC archive hall of ancient Rome, with dramatic views over the Forum to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Piazza del Campidoglio (06 67102071). Open Tu-Sun 9am-8pm. Admission until 1 hour before closing time. €6.50. Bus 40 Express, 62, 70, 64, 87, 170, or any bus to Piazza Venezia or Via del Teatro di Marcello.
The underground ruins of the ancient Theatre of Balbus have recently been converted into a museum of ancient and medieval Roman art. Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 29 (06 39967700) Tu-Sun 9am-7.45pm. € 7 (it includes Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Palazzo Altemps, Terme di Diocleziano). Bus 40 Express, 62, 64, 70, 87, 571 to Largo Argentina or Piazza Venezia.
Explora – (Children’s Museum)
Not particularily to do with Rome, more general hands-on exhibits aimed at under-12s. Activities from plumbing and car maintenance to commerce and communications. Borghetto Flaminio, Via Flaminia, 80 (06 3613776; www.mdbr.it). Admission at set times for 1hr 45 min sessions: Tu-Fri at 10am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm; . Closed 25th Dec, 1st Jan, 15th Aug. €7 children (0-3yrs free); €6 adults (!). Metro A: Flaminio.
Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia
An amazing array of Etruscan tomb artifacts is on display in this all-too-undervisited and very lovely 16th century villa on the north side of the Villa Borghese. The detail and craftsmanship of this artwork – some of it 2800 years old – truly astonishes. Seek out especially the gold collection. Fine bookshop. Piazza Villa Giulia, 9 (northwest side of Villa Borghese) (06 3226571). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-6:30pm. €4. Tram 30 or 225 from Metro A: Flaminio.
This wonderfully intimate collection contains some of the most important Renaissance and Baroque paintings in the world, including works by Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio, but the real crowd-pleasers at the Borghese are the sculptures by Bernini and Canova, who tested the limits of marble in unbelievable ways. Piazzale Museo Borghese (eastern end of the Villa Borghese) (06 32810, www.ticketeria.it). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7:30pm (entry by reservation only at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm). It is advisable to book at least a few days in advance. €8.50 + €2 booking fee. Bus 116 or 910 to Via Pinciana.
Picture gallery with works by Guercino, Tintoretto, Palma Vecchio, and the Carracci. Via della Pilotta, 17 (06 6784350). Open Sat only, 9am-1pm. €10, €8 reductions. Bus 492 or 62 to Largo Chigi, or bus 40 Express or 64 to Piazza Venezia, then a short walk up Via del Corso.
Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea ( closed for restauration until end of 2008)
The city’s permanent collection of modern art, especially strong on 19th and 20th century Italian art. Via Francesco Crispi, 24 (tel. 06 4742848). Open Tu-Sat 9am-6.30pm; Sun 9am-1pm. €2.60. Later 20th century works and temporary exhibitions also on display at the museum’s satellite location, Via Reggio Emilia, 54. To Via Crispi: Bus 62 or 492 to Piazza Barberini or Metro A: Barberini.
Galleria dell’Accademia di San Luca (closed for restoration at time for printing)
A small picture gallery with paintings by Raphael, Bassano, Rubens, and Guercino. Piazza dell’Accademia di S. Luca, 77 (06 6798850). Open Mon-Sat 10am-12:30pm. Free. Bus 62 or 492 to Via del Tritone or Via del Corso.
Galleria Doria Pamphilj
This former noble family palace offers an incredibly rich collection of paintings as well as a real sense of the way the Renaissance rich and famous lived, with access to the banquet halls and apartments, all enhanced by the lively audio guide. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Piazza del Collegio Romano, 2 (tel. 06 6797323; www.doriapamphilj.it). Open Fri-Wed 10am-5pm. € 10, students and pensioners €7. Visit of apartments temporarily suspended at time of printing. Ticket includes audio guide. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Piazza Venezia or 492 or 62 to Via del Corso.
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (see Palazzo Barberini below)
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna
The national Italian collection of modern art is located in the cool atmosphere of a palace in the Villa Borghese. Works by DeChirico, Carrà, the macchiaioli, and a few non-Italians like Kandinsky, Klimt, and Cezanne. Viale delle Belle Arti, 131 (06 322981; www.gnam.arti.beniculturali.it). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm. € 8. Tram 3 or 19.
A beautiful Renaissance palace housing works by Reni, Guercino, Titian, and the Gentileschi. Most noteworthy is Borromini’s fantastically illusionistic trompe l’oeil corridor in the palace’s courtyard. Piazza Capodiferro, 13 (tel. 06 6861158). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm. €5. Bus 40 Express, 64, 492, or 62 to Largo Argentina, or bus 23, 271, or 280 to Ponte Sisto.
Goethe Memorial House
Italy, and Rome especially, had a profound influence on Goethe, and the rooms of this apartment where he lived in 1700 have been opened to the public to celebrate the poet and his relationship with Italy. Via del Corso, 18 (tel. 06 32650412). Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm. €4. Bus 62 or 492 to Via del Corso or Metro A: Flaminio or Spagna.
Keats-Shelley Memorial House
Keats spent the last months of his life in this apartment; he died here in 1821. This memorial house is dedicated not only to Keats but also to the other Romantic poets who wrote in Rome, like Shelley, Byron, and Hunt. Piazza di Spagna, 26 (06 6784235). Open Mon-Fri 9am-1pm, 2pm-6pm; Sat 11am-2pm, 3pm-6pm. € 4. Metro A: Spagna.
Museo della Casina delle Civette
Located in the Villa Torlonia public park, this museum is remarkable for its Art Nouveau stained glass windows and the recently restored villa.Via Nomentana . Open Tu-Sun 9am-7pm (Oct-Mar 9am-5pm), ticket office closes one hour earlier. €3.
After a two year long restoration also the ” Casino Nobile” has been opened to the public. .Mussolini and his family lived in this Villa from 1925 to 1943. It’s one of the finest exampls of residential architecture in 19th century. It became allied headquarters until 1947.You can see drawings of exotic dancers left by American soldiers. Free until June 15th 2006 .Then it will close until October for more repair works. Bus 62 or 60 Express to Via Nomentana/Villa Torlonia.
Museo della Civilta’ Romana
This museum was part of Mussolini’s plan dedicated to glorifying Imperial Rome. Nowadays it’s rather out of the way, and has a distinctly dusty air- apart from the occasional school trip you’ll probably be on your own. However, it’s worth a visit for its definite highlight, a vast (1:250) scale model of the ancient city. There are also larger scale models of military operations, monuments (for example the model of the Colosseum gives a clear idea of how the system of staircases got everybody in and out) and more. Children especially will appreciate all the models, very helpful in giving one a sense of what things were like before they all fell into a state of unrecognizable ruin. Piazza G. Agnelli, 10, EUR (06 5926041). Open Tu-Sun 9am-2pm. €6.50. It also contains a planetarium ( 06 82059127 booking recommended ) €8.50 ( including the museum). Metro B: EUR-Fermi or bus 714 to Piazza G. Marconi.
Museo della Comunita’ Ebraica
Inside the Synagogue in the old Jewish ghetto area, the museum is not very clearly set out and is rather gloomy. It houses Judaic art as well as documents and some interesting photographs that chronicle the history of the Jews in Rome from the 16th century, when the Ghetto was established, to World War II. Lungotevere de’ Cenci (tel. 06 6840061). Sept. 16th-June 15th: Open Sun-Thu 10am-6:30pm, Fri 9am-1:15pm, ; June 16th-Sept. 15th: Open Sun-Thu 10am-6:15pm, Fri 9am-3:15pm, Sun 9am-noon. €7.50 (includes Synagogue visit). Bus 23, 271, or 280 to Lungotevere de’ Cenci (or Lungotevere degli Anguillara and walk across Tiber Island). Or a short walk from Largo Argentina (bus 40 Express, 64, 492, or 62).
Museo delle Mura
See “The Appian Way” below
Museo delle Paste Alimentari
Tucked away in a small piazza east of the Trevi Fountain, this well-organized museum is dedicated entirely to pasta. The ten-euro entrance ticket may seem high, but gourmets will savour the exhibits and audio guide (included in admission). Piazza Scanderbeg, 117 (06 6991119). Open daily 9:30am-5:30pm. €10. Bus 62, 492, or 175 to Largo Chigi.
Selected items from Napoleon’s collection of books, art, and knick-knacks. Piazza Ponte Umberto I (tel. 06 68806286). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7pm. €3( €5 with exhibitions). Bus 492, 70, 81, 87 or 628 to Ponte Umberto I, or 30 Express to Corso Rinascimento.
Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale
On display inside the restored Palazzo Brancaccio is the most important collection of Oriental art in Italy. Via Merulana, 248 (06 46974801). Admission € 6. Open Mon- Fri, Sat-Sun 9 am-2pm; . Metro A: Vittorio Emanuele.
Museo Nazionale Romano
See Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Terme di Diocleziano, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi
Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali
The Gorga collection of over 800 musical instruments, from ancient to modern. Rare and beautiful pieces including flutes, violins, and the especially noteworthy Barberini harp. Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, 9/a (06 7014796). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm. €4. Bus 649 to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme or Metro A: San Giovanni and short walk.
Museo Preistorico ed Etnografico Luigi Pigorini
Prehistoric Italian artifacts plus ethnological material from other cultures, including a real Neanderthal skull. The collection is actually quite good for what it is, but if dusty cases of unidentified stone objects (are they arrowheads or petrified gnocchi?) aren’t your thing, pick another museum. Viale Lincoln, 1, EUR (06 549521). Open Tue-Sun 9am-2pm Free at time of printing. Metro B: EUR-Fermi or bus 714 to Viale Marconi.
Museo di Roma at Palazzo Braschi
Just reopened in May, 2002, after a 15 year closure, this palace is beautiful and contains a collection of paintings (mostly portraits), sculpture, clothes and so on from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are also some interesting paintings of Rome as it appeared before 17th century building projects changed the look of the city, and before excavations were carried out in the Forum area. Via San Pantaleo 10 (06 67108346). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7pm. Admission until one hour before closing time €6.50. Bus 30 Express, 40 Express, 64, 62, 70, 87, 492, 628.
This airy, and pleasant palazzo near Piazza Navona houses the Ludovisi collection of ancient sculpture. Piazza S. Apollinare, 48 (06 6872719). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7pm. € 7 ( it includes Palazzo Massimo, Terme di Diocleziano, Crypta Balbi). Bus 30 Express, 492, 70, 81, 87, or 628 to Corso Rinascimento/Piazza Cinque Lune.
Palazzo Barberini – (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica)
A magnificent 17th century palazzo turned picture gallery, featuring works of the Renaissance and Baroque, including paintings by Raphael (his famous Fornarina), Caravaggio, and Guido Reni. Special exhibitions are also held here throughout the year. Via delle Quattro Fontane 13 (06 42003669 / 06 4824184). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm (ticket office closes at 7pm). € 6
Metro A: Barberini or bus 492 or 62.
Palazzo Corsini – (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica)
The overflow from the national collection at Palazzo Barberini is housed here, including the standard assortment of works by Guercino, Reni, Caravaggio, Rubens, and the Carracci. Via della Lungara, 10 (06 68802323). Open Tu-Sun 8:30am-7:30pm, €4. Bus 23, 271 or 280 to Lungotevere della Farnesina (on the river between St Peter’s and Trastevere).
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
The restoration of this palazzo, which contains wonderful pieces of ancient sculpture, fresco, and mosaic, has made the visit here a much more airy and informative experience. Largo di Villa Peretti, 1 (06 480201//06 4893503). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7:45pm (ticket office closes one hour earlier) € 7 (ticket includes Palazzo Altemps, Terme di Diocleziano, Crypta Balbi). Any bus or metro to Termini.
Terme di Diocleziano
Part of the Museo Nazionale Romano, this museum features all forms of Roman inscriptions. More interesting than the collection itself is the setting, in among the massive walls of the ruins of the 3rd century Baths of Diocletian. Via Enrico De Nicola, 72 (06 4782). Open Tu-Sun 9am-7:45pm (ticket office closes at 7pm). € 7 ( ticket includes Terme di Diocleziano, Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps). Bus 64 or 40 Express to Viale Einaudi or Via Nazionale/Esedra, or Metro A: Repubblica.
This graceful little Renaissance villa on the banks of the Tiber (Trastevere side) has frescoes by Raphael (the Galatea), Peruzzi, and Sodoma, and is in general a very pleasant place to be. Via della Lungara, 230 (06 68801767). Open Mon-Sat 9am-1pm. €5. Bus 23, 271 or 280 to Lungotevere della Farnesina or Ponte Sisto.
Complesso del Vittoriano
Built into the back of the gigantic monument to Vittorio Emanuele at Piazza Venezia, this museum hosts some of the most important touring exhibitions of art in Europe. Entrance on Via S. Pietro in Carcere, off Via dei Fori Imperiali (tel. 06 6780664). Open Mon-Thu 9:30am-7:30pm, Fri-Sat 9:30am-11:30pm, Sun 9:30am-8:30pm. €10. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Piazza Venezia, or Metro B: Colosseo, then a short walk up Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Museo del Corso
This centrally located gallery hosts a wide variety of exhibitions. Via del Corso, 320 (06 6786209). Opening hours and price depend on the exhibition. Bus 62 or 492 to Via del Corso, or any bus to Piazza Venezia and a short walk up Via del Corso.
Museo di Roma in Trastevere
On Piazza di S. Egidio in Trastevere, this small space frequently features photography exhibitions. Piazza S. Egidio 1b (06 5897123). Open Tu-Sun 10am-8pm( ticket office closes one hour earlier). €3 (€4.50 with exhibitions). Bus 23 or 280 to Ponte Sisto.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Three to four major exhibitions – of different media and time periods – are on view here at any given time. Via Nazionale, 194, www.palaexpo.com).
Rome’s first Renaissance palace, later used by Mussolini as the headquarters of the Fascist regime, now houses special exhibitions, usually with a specifically Roman theme. Via del Plebiscito, 118 (06 6798865). Open Tu-Sat 8:30am-7:30pm. €4. Bus 40 Express, 64, 62, 492, 70, 87, or H to Piazza Venezia.
Scuderie Papali al Quirinale
The old papal stables on the Quirinal Hill, successfully converted into a museum space, where important international exhibitions are brought throughout the year. Via XXIV Maggio (tel. 06 696270. www.scuderiequirinale.it ). Opening hours and price vary, depending on the exhibition. Bus 492, 62, or 175 to Largo del Tritone, or 64 or 170 to Via Nazionale (corner of Via XXIV Maggio).