To get around all the museums in Rome, probably several years will not be enough. The main thing is to start somewhere. After you have covered the standard tourist route Colosseum – Roman Forum – Pantheon and taken a selfie in front of the Trevi Fountain, you can set off on an exploration of the treasures hidden behind the walls of the majestic palazzo and, of course, the Vatican. It is especially pleasant to hide in cozy museum halls from bad weather or, conversely, from the burning Italian sun. ARTANDHOUSES has compiled a guide to some of the most famous museums in Rome, highlighting the must-see sights of the Eternal City.
Vatican Museums/Musei Vaticani
The content of the article:
- 1 Vatican Museums/Musei Vaticani
- 2 Capitoline Museums/Musei Capitolini
- 3 Galleria Borghese
- 4 Villa Farnesina
- 5 Galleria Doria-Pamphilj
- 6 Montemartini Power Station
- 7 Palazzo Altemps
- 8 Palazzo Barberini
- 9 Palazzo Massimo alle Termi
- 10 Spada Gallery/Galleria Spada
- 11 Galleria Corsini
- 12 Villa Giulia
- 13 MAXXI/Museo Nazionali delle Arti del XXI Secolo
- 14 National Gallery of Modern Art/La Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
- 15 MACRO/Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma
You can write a separate guide to the Vatican Museums – there are twenty-nine in total. On the territory of the Vatican, art occupies as much as seven kilometers, and to thoroughly study them, it will take at least a month. Five million people annually storm the museums and galleries of the papal residence, wanting to see the main treasures of the Vatican – the Sistine Chapel and Stanza. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo, and the Stanzas – four halls – were painted by Raphael himself and his students, the main masterpiece here is the School of Athens. The Vatican Pinakothek with paintings by Giotto, Raphael, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Perugino and other geniuses of the Renaissance is also a must-see.
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Capitoline Museums/Musei Capitolini
The Capitoline Museum, which opened in 1471, is the first public museum in the world. Today, on the Capitoline Square, designed by Michelangelo, there are three museum buildings – the Senatorial Palace, the Palazzo of the Conservatives and the New Palace. The collection is based on the collection of antique bronzes of Pope Sixtus IV. Since then, it has become the custom – you have to come to the Capitol to look at the sculpture. The most famous exhibit of the museum is the remains of a giant sculpture of Emperor Constantine – the height of the head alone is 2.5 meters. The feet and hands of this 12-meter colossus are also preserved, and together they look like a surreal installation. The interiors of the palaces themselves are an example of luxury with wall paintings depicting historical events and mythological subjects. One of the most beloved statues by the public is “The Boy Taking Out a Thorn” of the 1st century BC. B.C.
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< span class = "s1">The gallery was founded by Cardinal Scipio Borghese, a great lover and collector of art and also a tax collector. Thanks to his position, the cardinal was able to confiscate and buy works of art for a pittance. Borghese was a great admirer of the talent of Caravaggio and Lorenzo Bernini; it is these masters who are best represented in the gallery. Here you can see “Sick Bacchus” and “Boy with a Basket of Fruit” by Caravaggio, sculpture “Apollo and Daphne” by Bernini, but, in addition, other masterpieces of the Renaissance – “The Lady with the Unicorn” by Raphael, “Venus with Cupid” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, as well as paintings by Rubens, Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio and many mannerists.
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Villa Farnesina is an example of palace luxury with paintings by Raphael. The villa was originally owned by the banker Agostino Chigi, who was the creditor of the two popes. Raphael painted the walls of several rooms – this is the “Triumph of Galatea” in the first hall and frescoes in the loggia of Cupid and Psyche. Fruits and flowers, painted by the artist in a very realistic way, seemed to be a continuation of the garden, where the loggia went. One of the walls depicts the head of a young man, according to legend, painted by Michelangelo himself, who came to visit Raphael, but did not find him. The gallery's most notable piece of art is a huge gem and ivory gold bed, thought to be more expensive than the entire palazzo.
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This gallery, owned by an aristocratic family, houses 17th century Italian painting. One of the gallery's main exhibits is a portrait of Pope Innocent X, a native of the Pamphilj clan, painted by Velazquez. The furnishings of the rich house deserve special attention – with chandeliers, mirrors and gilding everywhere. It also houses the “Penitent Magdalene” and “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” by Caravaggio, four paintings by Titian, Raphael's “Double Portrait” and many landscapes by Claude Lorrain. Here you can also see a bust of Olympia Maidalkini-Pamphilj, who is said to rule instead of Pope Innocent X.
Montemartini Power Station
The Archaeological Museum is located in the building of the former power plant. Montemartini has an interesting combination of archaeological exhibits and industrial architecture. The idea to set up a museum in the power plant built in 1912 arose when the Capitoline Museums were being renovated and part of the collection was temporarily moved here. The combination was so extraordinary that in 1997 a museum was opened in Montemartini. Among the factory interiors with machine tools were placed sculptures from the era of the Roman Republic, archaeological finds and mosaics from the imperial gardens.
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< p class = "p1"> The Palazzo Altemps houses the antique sculpture collection of the Museum of Ancient Art of Rome. The museum brought together three collections – the very Cardinal Altemps, a passionate collector of art, as well as the princes Mattei and Ludovisi. The latter built their palace on the site of the former villa of Caesar, and then Sallust, and became the owners of the most valuable collection of antique art. From there, the main masterpiece is the “Throne of Ludovisi”, a marble block of the 5th century BC. NS. with reliefs depicting Aphrodite emerging from the foam of the sea.
Palazzo Barberini houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art. Here architecture argues in importance with painting. The palazzo was built for Pope Urban VIII, née Barberini. The palace was built by three great architects – Carlo Maderno, Francesco Borromini and Lorenzo Bernini. The two staircases demonstrate the talent of two rivals – the Borromini staircase folds into a spiral snail, and the Bernini staircase goes into perspective in squares. Among the gallery's masterpieces are Judith and Holofernes by Caravaggio, Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco, Fornarina by Raphael, Venus and Adonis by Titian. But in general, the level of painting is very high here.
Palazzo Massimo alle Termi
The Museum of Ancient Art is located in Palazzo Massimo. The most interesting things here are ancient Roman mosaics with hippos, crocodiles and cuttlefish, as well as authentic ancient Roman frescoes. The main space is occupied by a collection of sculptures, among which the most famous is the “Fist Fighter”, found during the excavations of the Quirinal. In the basement of the palazzo there is an underground dining room from the house of Livia, wife of Emperor Augustus, whose walls are painted in the form of a Garden of Eden.
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Spada Gallery/Galleria Spada
A small gallery is located in the palace of Cardinal Spada. It houses a pretty collection of Italian paintings where Titian, Guido Reni and Guercino meet. But the main attraction of the palace is the Perspective Gallery, built by the architect Borromini. This is a unique architectural snag, which was the master of the genius of the Baroque. You seem to see a long gallery, which is actually only 8 meters long. And all because the floor goes up a little, and the ceiling goes down. Also noteworthy is the interior, which includes frescoes, furniture and chandeliers made of Murano glass.
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The Corsini Gallery is another gallery that belonged to a wealthy Roman family. A grand staircase decorated with antique sculptures leads to rooms with antique furniture and paintings. The palazzo was built by Cardinal Neri Cosini, nephew of Pope Clement XII, in the 18th century. It houses a fine collection of Italian painting from the Early Renaissance to the end of the 18th century. Major hits are “The Last Judgment”, “Ascension” and “Pentecost” by Fra Angelico and “John the Baptist in the Wilderness” by Caravaggio. In addition, the sweet sentimental painting by Guercino and Guido Reni can be seen here.
The villa was named after Pope Julius III and served as a residence for the pontiffs. The National Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia houses the finest collection of Etruscan art in the world. Belonging to one of the most ancient civilizations, the people created art, on which, as a foundation, the art of Rome stands. The museum floor is occupied by items from the Etruscan necropolises – sarcophagi, statuettes, urns. There are even reconstructions of Etruscan cities. In addition, Villa Giulia houses famous Etruscan terracotta sculptures, including the statue of Apollo, as well as the terracotta sarcophagus of the spouses from the Banditaccia necropolis of the 6th century BC. NS. and, of course, vases and decorations.
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MAXXI/Museo Nazionali delle Arti del XXI Secolo
The Roman Museum of Modern Art was built by Zaha Hadid. Justifying its maximalist name, the museum covers an area of 27,000 square meters. m. The grandiose building, consisting of two – MAXXI Art and MAXXI Architecture, cost the treasury € 150 million. The museum is a real work of modern art, which is worth visiting just to see the dizzying architectural perspectives. True, the Romans themselves sarcastically nicknamed MAXXI “macaroni” for its tortuosity. His permanent collection includes contemporary Italian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. By the way, the exposition has recently been updated. Temporary exhibitions are also held.
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National Gallery of Modern Art/La Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
The gallery houses the largest collection of art from the 19th – 20th centuries. More than 1000 works can be seen in 55 halls. A significant part is occupied by the Italian art of the 19th century, which has long gone out of fashion, but today it may be worth reconsidering its merits. The strong point of the collection is Italian art of the 20th century, when Italy made a great contribution to the treasury of world art. It houses a collection of futurists, an excellent selection of works by De Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi, Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Janis Kunnelis. International modernism is represented by the works of Gustav Klimt, Auguste Rodin, Marcel Duchamp, there is even Kandinsky.
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MACRO/Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma
MACRO is another museum of contemporary art, but not national, like MAXXI, but an urban one. The building of the former Peroni brewery was adapted for the museum, in accordance with the fashionable concept of gentrification. The redevelopment project was entrusted to Frenchwoman Odile Dec, who created a dramatic modern space in red and black and added a right wing to the main building. The permanent exhibition of the museum includes Italian contemporary art dating back to the 1960s. Temporary exhibitions are held in the second museum building, MACRO Testaccio, converted from a former slaughterhouse.