museums in Rome

10 tips for the best museums in Rome

Rome attracts visitors with its history that radiates from every corner. And what better place to remember it than in the museums that take you through history from the Etruscans, through the ancient period, to the Renaissance and the present day? Check out these 10 tips for the best museums in Rome.

Updated 2. 4. 2022

Which museums in Rome are worth a visit?

There are 83 museums in Rome. Yes, 83. It takes several visits to Rome to get around them all. In fact, not all of them are worth a visit. Today, we’ll take a look at the museums in Rome that are sure to excite and entertain you. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a lover of ancient Rome (we’re checking in 😃) or those looking for more contemporary artists from the Neoclassical or Surrealist periods.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museums are some of the largest museums in the world, with more than 20,000 works on display, collected by popes over the centuries. And that’s just a fraction. Most of the art and works are not on display. The Vatican Museums are the 5th most visited art museum in the world. It will amaze you with Roman sculptures and masterpieces of Renaissance art.

museums in Rome

The Vatican Museums complex is housed in the Palazzo Apostolico. A huge complex with galleries connected by several kilometres of corridors. A visit will take 2-3 hours of your time, but don’t expect to have a chance to see each work more carefully. But you shouldn’t miss the Map Gallery with its painted topographical maps of Italy (1st photo), Raphael’s fresco of the School of Athens in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, where you will see two important works by Michelangelo (2nd photo) – a ceiling panel depicting nine episodes from the Book of Genesis and the Last Judgement on the west wall showing God pronouncing judgment on the souls of the dead. Then, at the very end of the Vatican Museums, you’ll walk up a spiral staircase (3rd photo).

The Vatican Museums are always crowded. The best times to visit are Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, when the crowds are at their lowest.

  • Where is it? Viale Vaticano 51, Vatican City
  • How do I get there? Metro – line A → stop Cipro or Ottaviano
  • What are the opening hours? Mon-Thu 8:30am-6:30pm (last entry 4:30pm) Fri-Sat 8:30am-8:00pm (last entry 6:00pm) last Sun of the month 9:00am-2:00pm (last entry 12:30pm); winter Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm (last entry 4:00pm) last Sun of the month 9:00am-2:00pm (last entry 12:30pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 17 EUR, reduced admission 8 EUR (students 19 – 26 years)
  • Booking: YES; booking fee
  • Part of the Rome&Vatican Pass: YES

Skip the line and order tickets to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel online. There are even tours of the Vatican at night.

Capitol Museums

In the small, perfectly oval Campidoglio Square you’ll find the Town Hall and the Capitoline Museums, the oldest public museum in the world. The museums are housed in two of the three palaces, which are connected by an underground passageway (the third building is the Roman town hall, Palazzo Senatorio).

Capitoline Museums / Museums in Rome

You will start your visit at the Palazzo dei Conservatori, where in the courtyard you will be treated to the giant marble body parts that belong to the giant statue of Constantine from the Forum Romanum. Upstairs, don’t miss the bronze Capitoline Wolf and the second-floor picture gallery with works by Caravaggio, Titian and Rubens. The museums will tell the story of Rome from antiquity to the Renaissance. A ticket will set you back €11.50 and allow 1-2 hours. Along with the Vatican Museums and the Borghese Gallery, the Capitoline Museums are another must-visit for all art and history lovers.

The square sits on the Capitoline Hill, giving you the best views of ancient Rome – especially of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in the distance. The ancient Romans had their temple in the Piazza, later Michelangelo redesigned the square into its present form. In the middle of the square stands an equestrian statue by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Copy. The original can be found in the Capitoline Museums.

  • Where is it? Piazza del Campidoglio
  • How do I get there? 1 kilometer from Colosseo metro station (line B)
  • What are the opening hours? 9:30am-7:30pm
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 11,50 EUR, reduced admission 9,50 EUR
  • Reservations: Optional, but can be booked at www.museicapitolini.org
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

Borghese Gallery

The Borghese Gallery is located in the Villa Borghese Park, known as the Green Lungs of Rome. It’s a place to relax, take a bike ride, enjoy the view of Rome and have a bite to eat. And be amazed by the art in the gallery, one of the best in Rome.

museums in Rome

It houses one of the world’s finest collections of art in sculpture, painting and architecture. The collection was created by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century and today remains on display in the villa he built to protect it. That is why it is called the Queen of all private collections in the world.

What will make the Borghese Gallery stand out? With its floor mosaics depicting gladiators, ancient sculptures, Egyptian art, Renaissance paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio and Titian or some of Bernini’s most famous sculptures.

They only let a limited number of tourists in, so it’s not crowded. Unlike the Vatican Museums, where up to 30,000 visitors a day enter.

Ticket price is 13 € + 2 € for reservation. As with many other Roman monuments, you must reserve your place in the Borghese Gallery. You have 3 options: by phone, by email or via the website.

  • Email info@tosc.it with the number of people, age, date and approximate time that would work for you. They will reply within 48 hours.
  • Another popular option is to make a reservation for the Borghese Gallery online. The interface isn’t entirely intuitive, so a popular option is to order a ticket through Getyourguide, where you’re done in a few clicks (and free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance).

Please note: you must be at the venue at least half an hour in advance. In the meantime, you can wander around the gardens.

  • Where is it? Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5
  • How do I get there? Metro – line A → stop Piazza di Spagna, bus – lines 5, 19, 52, 53, 63, 86, 88, 92, 95, 116, 204, 217, 231, 360, 490, 491, 495, 630, 910, 926
  • What are the opening hours? Tue – Sun 9:00am – 7:00pm (last entry 5:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 13 EUR, reduced admission 2 EUR (EU citizens 18 – 25 years), booking fee 2 €
  • Reservation: YES (procedure above)
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

TIP: Do you want to save on admission and transport in Rome or use one card for everything? Check out the Roma Pass and Roma and Vatican Pass tourist cards, which provide free admission to many sights, including public transport and a sightseeing bus ride .

National Roman Museum

The National Roman Museum is divided into 4 main collections, which are housed in different palaces. Before your visit, you buy one combined ticket that will get you into all the places. You have 1 week to visit all the sites.

How much is the entrance fee to the National Roman Museum?

  • Combination ticket: full admission €12, reduced admission €8 (EU citizens 18-25 years), booking fee €2
  • Ticket for 1 seat: full admission €8, reduced admission €2 (EU citizens 18-25 years), booking fee €2

Are reservations required for the National Museum of Rome?

It is better to make a reservation online – the official website of the National Roman Museum. You can also buy tickets at the door, but you risk not getting in at busier times. Off-season during the week or any evening shouldn’t be a problem.

National Museum of Rome: Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

The Renaissance palace Palazzo Massimo is the main seat of the National Museum of Rome. Here you will find an extensive collection of ancient art. The ground floor and the first floor are mainly devoted to sculpture. But the best is on the second floor. Beautiful mosaics and frescoes of a flowering garden decorate almost the entire room.

museums in Rome
  • Where is it? Largo di Villa Peretti, 2
  • How do I get there? Metro – line A → Repubblica or Termini station, bus C, H, 16, 36, 38, 40, 64, 86, 92, 92, 105, 157, 170, 175, 204, 217, 310, 360, 492, 590, 649, 714 and 910
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Fri 2:00pm-7:45pm, Sat-Sun 10:30am-7:45pm (last entry at 7:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? 12 € (8 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the combination ticket, 8 € (2 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the regular ticket
  • Reservation: not required
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

National Roman Museum: the Baths of Diocletian

Diocletian’s Baths, the historic home of the National Museum of Rome, are very close to Palazzo Massimo. In the 4th century, it used to be the largest and most spectacular bath complex in ancient Rome, accommodating up to 3,000 people at a time. It is said to have been even larger than the Baths of Caracalla. Diocletian’s Baths can be found next to Termini Central Station. In the 4th century, it used to be the largest and most spectacular spa complex in ancient Rome, accommodating up to 3,000 people at a time.

museums in Rome

The main part of the museum is devoted to an extensive collection of ancient Roman inscriptions and written texts. Don’t miss the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by Michelangelo but completed by his pupil Jacopo Lo Duca, who died the following year. Outside, then, is the magnificent open space of the Michelangelo Cloister, or Michelangelo Convent, one of the largest in Italy.

  • Where is it? Via del Circo Massimo
  • How do I get there? Metro – line A or B → Termini station, bus C2, H, 36, 38, 40, 64, 86, 90, 92, 105, 170, 175, 217, 310, 360, 714 and 910
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Fri 2:00pm-7:45pm, Sat-Sun 10:30am-7:45pm (last entry at 7:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? 12 € (8 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the combination ticket, 8 € (2 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the regular ticket
  • Reservation: not required
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

National Roman Museum: Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Altemps is a sumptuously decorated 15th-century palace near Piazza Navona. Here you will be treated to the greatest works of ancient sculpture, Egyptian collections, the famous frescoes of Pallavicini Rospigliosi and other finds and collections.

  • Where is it? Piazza S. Apollinare, 46
  • How do I get there? Bus C3, 30, 70, 81, 87, 116, 130, 186, 492 and 628.
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Fri 2:00pm-7:45pm, Sat-Sun 10:30am-7:45pm (last entry at 7:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? 12 € (8 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the combination ticket, 8 € (2 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the regular ticket
  • Reservation: not required
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

National Roman Museum: Crypta Balbi

At the Crypta Balbi site, you will be transported back in time to the past of Rome thanks to the excavations here, which reveal how the site was used from antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the modern era. You’ll also see archaeological material from other excavations and the historical collections of other Roman museums.

  • Where is it? Via delle Botteghe Oscure, 31
  • How do I get there? Bus H, 30, 40, 46, 62, 63, 64, 70, 87, 119, 130, 186, 190, 271, 492, 571, 630, 780, 810 and 916
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Fri 2:00pm-7:45pm, Sat-Sun 10:30am-7:45pm (last entry at 7:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? 12 € (8 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the combination ticket, 8 € (2 € reduced for EU citizens 18-25 years of age) for the regular ticket
  • Reservation: not required
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

Trajan’s Forum – Museo dei Fori Imperiali

Trajan’s Markets (Mercati di Traiano) on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill were the dominant centrepiece of Trajan’s early 2nd century Forum, the last and most spectacular of the imperial forums. Originally thought to have been an ancient shopping centre, scholars now believe they were designed to house the administrative offices of the forum.

museums in Rome

The museum focuses on the history and architecture of imperial forums. What gets you most is the building itself. A huge three-story semicircle centered in the enormous Great Hall, from where there are great views of the surrounding forums. While not as famous as the Colosseum, Trajan’s Markets are definitely worth seeing for me. If only because of how well preserved they have remained over the centuries.

  • Where is it? Via IV Novembre, 94
  • How do I get there? Metro line B → stop Colosseo or Cavour, bus – lines 40, 53, 60, 64, 70, 80, 85, 57, 117, 170, 175, 186, 271, 571, 810, H, N7, N8, N9, N15, N18 → stop Piazza Venezia
  • What are the opening hours? Mon – Sun 9:30 am – 7:00 pm
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 15 EUR, reduced admission 13 EUR (EU citizens 18 – 24 years)
  • Reservation: NO
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

Castle of the Angels (Castel Sant’Angelo)

A short distance from the Vatican, on the right bank of the Tiber River, you will find the fortress of the Castle of the Angels, known as Hadrian’s Tomb. It is one of the oldest monuments in Rome. It was built by the Emperor Hadrian in 139 AD as his mausoleum. It was subsequently fortified and taken over by the papacy, which used the church as a refuge.

Rome without a tour operator / Rome on your own / Rome guide

The name of the castle is derived from a vision of an angel that Pope Gregory had here in 590. Today, the Castle of the Angels is a popular museum where you can learn more about its long and turbulent history and experience the lavish papal apartments. Also worth seeing is the Paolina Hall with its Renaissance frescoes and spectacular views from the terrace.

  • Where is it? Lungo teverre Castello 50
  • How do I get there? Bus – lines 23, 34, 49, 64, 87, 280, 492, 926, 990
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Sun 9:00am-7:30pm (ticket office closes at 6:30pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 15 EUR, reduced admission 7 EUR (EU citizens 18 – 24 years)
  • Reservation: during holidays and weekends YES
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

Book tickets to Angel Castle online

National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia)

In the beautiful Renaissance building of Villa Giulia, on the edge of the Villa Borghese Park, there is something for everyone interested in pre-Roman antiquity. In the National Etruscan Museum you will find a valuable collection of Etruscan objects ranging from gold jewellery, pottery, vases, bronzeware to the famous Sarcophagus of the Betrothed from the 6th century.

museums in Rome
  • Where is it? Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9
  • How do I get there? Metro A → Flaminio stop, tram 2, 3 and 19
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Sun 9:00am- 8:00pm (last entry at 7:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 10 EUR, reduced admission 2 EUR (EU citizens 18 – 25 years)
  • Reservation: NO
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

National Gallery of Ancient Art (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica)

museums in Rome

Palazzo Barberini is an imposing 17th-century Baroque building that houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art. The Italian architect Carl Maderna, who also designed St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, was responsible for the design of the façade.

Bernini and his rival Borromini worked on the building after Maderno’s death and both contributed monumental staircases.

Here you will find over 1400 works of art from the 13th to 18th centuries by Titian, El Greco, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and Raphael’s famous painting of his mistress La fornarina.

museums in Rome
  • Where is it? Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13
  • How do I get there? Metro A → Barberini stop, buses 52, 53, 56, 58, 58, 60, 61, 95, 116, 175, 492 and 590.
  • What are the opening hours? Tue – Sun 10:00am – 6:00pm (box office closes at 5:00pm)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 12 €, reduced admission 2 € (EU citizens 18 – 25 years), combined ticket with Palazzo Corsini, but it is currently under renovation
  • Reservation: NO
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna)

Want to take a break from ancient ruins and Renaissance palaces? At the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, or GNAM, you’ll certainly get the chance. Here you’ll find Italy’s largest collection of 19th- to 20th-century art, from Neoclassicism, Impressionism, Futurism to Surrealism – sculptures by Italian masters Antonio Canova and Umberto Boccioni and paintings by Modigliani and Giorgio de Chirico, French artists Cézanne, Rodin, Degas, Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, and Austrian world-famous artist Gustav Klimt.

  • Where is it? Viale delle Belle Arti, 131
  • How do I get there? Metro line A → Flaminio stop, tram 3 and 19, bus 61, 89, 160, 490, 495 → Piazzale del Fiocco stop
  • What are the opening hours? Tue-Sun 09:00am-7:00pm (last entry 45 minutes before)
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 10 EUR, reduced admission 2 EUR (EU citizens 18-25 years), reduced admission 5 EUR if you have visited MAXXI (see below)
  • Reservation: not required
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES

MAXXI – National Museum of Art of the 21st Century

MAXXI or Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo is Rome’s finest contemporary art. It has over 300 works in its permanent collection, but the temporary exhibitions that the museum organizes are especially worth seeing. They usually include innovative and avant-garde artists from all over the world.

The building in which the museum is housed was formerly a military barracks. It then underwent a radical transformation by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and became a major architectural work. The museum is located in the Flaminio district.

  • Where is it? Via Guido Reni 4
  • How do I get there? Metro line A → Flaminio stop, tram 2, bus 53, 168, 910
  • What are the opening hours? Tue – Sun 11:00am – 7:00pm
  • How much is the entry fee? Full admission 12 EUR, reduced admission 9 EUR (EU citizens 14 – 25 years)
  • Reservation: NO
  • Part of the Roma Pass: YES, including priority entry

Museums in Rome – MAP

TIP: Do you want to save on admission and transport in Rome or use one card for everything? Check out the Roma Pass and Roma and Vatican Pass tourist cards , which provide free admission to many sights, including public transport and a sightseeing bus ride .

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