Rome is home to numerous museums that house an incredible variety of art, artifacts and historical treasures dating back thousands of years.
Here are the top 10 most notable museums in Rome. We think the first three are a must for every visitor to Rome:
Vatican Museums: Located in Vatican City, the Vatican Museums are home to one of the most impressive collections of art and historical artifacts in the world. Highlights include the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, and extensive collections of classical sculpture and Renaissance art. One of the largest and best museums in the world.
All our articles on the Vatican Museums:
Vatican Museums Overview
Pinacoteca of the Vatican
The Sistine Chapel
The Creation of Adam fresco
The Last Judgement
Rooms of Raphael
Pio Clementino Museum
The Torso from the Belvedere
The Gallery of Maps
The Carriage Museum of the Vatican
Musei Capitolini: Located on Capitoline Hill, this museum is the oldest public museum in the world. The collection includes ancient sculptures, Roman art and artifacts.
Our 3 articles about the Capitoline Museum:
Galleria Borghese: Housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, this museum has an outstanding collection of sculptures and paintings. Highlights include works by Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian.#
National Roman Museum (Museo Nazionale Romano): This museum has several locations throughout Rome, including the Baths of Diocletian, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Palazzo Altemps, and the Balbi Crypt. The collection includes Roman and Greek antiquities, sculptures and mosaics.
MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art (Museo Nationale delle arti del XXI secolo): Specializing in contemporary art and architecture, MAXXI is an impressive museum designed by architect Zaha Hadid. It hosts changing exhibitions and events.
Palazzo Barberini: This Baroque palace houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, which features works by artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael and Holbein.
Museo dell’Ara Pacis: Built to house the Ara Pacis, an ancient altar dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, this museum displays well-preserved altars and related artifacts.
Rome’s Museum of Modern Art (MACRO): With two locations (MACRO Via Nizza and MACRO Testaccio), this museum focuses on contemporary art and hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions.
National Etruscan Museum (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia): This museum in Villa Giulia is dedicated to Etruscan art and culture and displays sculptures, jewelry and artifacts.
Centrale Montemartini: Housed in a former power plant, this museum combines classical art and industrial architecture and features sculptures and artifacts from the Roman Empire.
These are just the top 10 of Rome’s many museums, and the city offers visitors a rich collection of art and history to explore. Whether you are interested in ancient Roman antiquities, Renaissance masterpieces or modern art, Rome has something to suit every taste.
Important tip: Buy tickets for the Vatican Museum,without queuing on the Internet
In the Vatican Museum, you can theoretically buy an entrance ticket at the box office, but you usually have to queue for hours. Often, the queue along the wall around the Vatican is several hundred metres long, often even one kilometre and more. A lot of museum visitors meanwhile have tickets with preferential admission (without queuing). These are available in advance on the Internet.
Note: Sometimes tickets are slightly cheaper on this website.
A combination ticket for the Vatican with a museum and St. Peter’s Cathedral is also very popular. St. Peter’s Basilica is theoretically free, but there are also very long queues. We even waited 2 hours in December.
Longer list of great museums in Rome
Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)
Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini)
National Roman Museum (Museo Nazionale Romano)
MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art (Museo Nationale delle Arti del XXI secolo)
Museum of the Ara Pacis (Museo dell’Ara Pacis)
Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO)
National Etruscan Museum (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia)
Villa Borghese Museum and Gallery
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GNAM)
Museum of the Republican Period and Roman Antiquity (Museo della Civiltà Romana)
Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d’Arte Orientale)
Museum of Roman Civilization (Museo della Civiltà Romana)
Museum of the Risorgimento (Museo Centrale del Risorgimento)
Museum of Coins and Medals (Museo della Moneta)
Planetarium and Astronomical Museum (Planetario e Museo Astronomico)
Pietro Canonica and Villa Borghese Museum
Carlo Bilotti Museum – Orangery of Villa Borghese
Museum of the Risorgimento (Museo del Risorgimento)
A similar top 10 list of museums in Rome – as a YouTube video