The Museums of Rome

The locations of all places are shown on my Google-Earth Map

Rome's Museums

Google-Maps (increase magnification this map is in 3-D)

Rome's Museums are a nostalgic anachronism among the museums of the Western world. For those of us who, incomprehending contemporary art, long for 19th cent painting, they are an indulgence. But art in Rome as a living expression of our times has died with the Risorgimento (actually when de Chirico turned into a Mussolini fan). The Fascist architecture of the city is only a reminder of this demise: modern Rome has become a city of spectacular though dead corpses.

The “secret 19th-cent rooms” of the Galleria Spada

Most museums are still hung in the 18th-century manner - frame-to-frame, with smaller pictures "skied" above larger ones! Such is the case in the Galleria Spada. To view these nostalgic rooms you have to pay extra and join a tour group, e.g. MiraMuseo

Vatican Museum
The Museum in Rome which you have to see if only for the Capella Sistina

The Sistine chapel is described separately under “Churches Vatican”

The line of people waiting to be admitted to the Sistine Chapel after its renovation, Easter 2007.
Very large, very crowded, a lousy website.....

Giuseppe Momo's Spiral Staircase, entrance to the Vatican Museum

The magnificent halls you will pass on your way to the Sistine Chapel

The crowd surging towards the Sistina

Raphael's stanza off the main thoroughfare

Museo Nazionale Etrusco Villa Giulia
The most interesting Museum in Rome 1889

The villa was built by the popes and remained their property until 1870 when, in the wake of the Risorgimento and the demise of the Papal States, it became the property of the Kingdom of Italy.

The famous Etruscan grave sculpture of a couple from the necropolis in Cerveteri (6th cent BC)

The museum was founded in 1889 with the aim of collecting all the pre-Roman antiquities of Latium, southern Etruria and Umbria belonging to the Etruscan and Faliscan civilizations in one museum, which has been housed in the villa since the beginning of the 20th century.

“Tydeus and Capaneus at the Siege of Thebes” is a temple pediment plaque that was sculpted by a genius: an unknown Etruscan artist. The tale he told through sculpted clay is able to be seen by viewers today, thanks to the monumental effort and dedication required for reconstruction. The high relief plaque illustrates the defeat of Thebes by an army led by seven men, a favorite theme in Etruscan art. Maybe the fact that this treasure has been reconstructed from mere fragments is what is so incredible…. Discovered while ploughing, the pieces were found in a farmer’s field 30 miles from Rome near Caere, an ancient harbour. It has been dated to 470-460 BCE. Text and photo from Jane-Street Clayworks.

Galleria Villa Borghese
The Collection
1574- 1873

The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621).

Tizian, “Sacred and Profane Love” (1513-1514) - which is which?

Notable is a collection of works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680) which covers a large portion of his lifetime output of secular sculpture; In this collection one can see Bernini mature from juvenile, but talented works, to some of his last sculptures.

Bernin, Apollo and Daphne (1622–25)

David (1623)

“Truth unveiled by Time” (1645-65) one of Bernini's last works.

Piazzale Museo Borghese (Parco di Villa Borghese), ☎ +39 06 8555952, Bookings: +39 06 32810, fax: +39 06 32651329, Open: Tu-Su 9AM-7PM
Note: Mandatory exit at the end of the allotted 2 hour slot, ticket office closes at 6.30pm

Gallerie Palazzo Colonna
Via della Pilotta/Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 66

A fabulous place sine qua non – better than Versailles!

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the Colonna art collection were acquired after 1650 by cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna. It includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). An Apotheosis of Martin V was painted by Benedetto Luti.

There are frescoed apartments completed after 1664 by Crescenzio Onofri, Claude Lorraine and Pieter Mulier (nicknamed Cavalier Tempesta). Other rooms were frescoed in 18th century by Pompeo Batoni and Pietro Bianchi.

The older wing of the complex known as Princess Isabelle's apartments, but once housed Martin V's library, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Lorraine, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and even Jan Brueghel the Elder!
The largest private art collection in Rome.
Via della Pilotta/Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 66, 00187 Roma, Italy Tel: +39 06 678 4350, Open to the public: every Saturday from 9 am to 13.15 (last admission), otherwise escorted tours 7 days/week. See: Museum Website

Galleria Palazzo Spada
Between Campo de'Fiori and the River,

The Palazzo Spada houses athe grand art collection, the Galleria Spada. The collection was originally assembled by Cardinal Bernardino Spada in the 17th century and added to by his grandnephew Cardinal Fabrizio Spada (1643-1717), and by Virginio Spada (1596-1662).

Cardinal Spada's collection, which includes four galleries of 16th and 17th-century paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Guido Reni, Titian, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Guercino, Rubens, Dürer, Caravaggio, Domenichino, the Carracci, Salvator Rosa, Parmigianino, Francesco Solimena, Michelangelo Cerquozzi, Pietro Testa, Giambattista Gaulli, and Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, has the additional interest of being hung in the 17th-century manner - frame-to-frame, with smaller pictures "skied" above larger ones!

Piazza Capo di Ferro, 3, 00186 Roma, Italy, Tel: +39 06 687 4893, Tuesday-Sun 8.30 - 19.30 . closed Mo. La biglietteria chiude alle ore 19.00 INGRESSO. Intero € 5,00. Ridotto € 2,50
Bus: 64, 62, 40, 44, 46, 8, 628, 87, 81, 70, 492, 280, 271 (?)

Palazzo Barberini
Piazza Barberini,

Borromini's staircase

Fascade of rear of Palazzo Barberini

Palazzo Barberini houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, one of the important painting collections in Italy. It includes, among many others, Raphael's portrait La Fornarina, Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes, and a Hans Holbein portrait of Henry VIII. The palace is also home to the Italian Institute of Numismatics.

Via delle Quattro Fontane 13, 00184 ROMA Tel. 06 4824184; closed Monday, Open Tuesday to Sunday: from 8.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 6.30 p.m.)

Museo Barracco
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

The Museum Barracco houses a collection of fine antique sculpture (Assyrian, Egyptian, Cypriot, Phoenician, Etruscan, Greek and Roman). It cannot compete with the Vatican Museum, but its presentation is more intimate, less ostentatious – and uncrowded.
In addition they have occasional shows of contemporary art - which the Vatican doesn't.

Via dei Baullari 1/Corso Vittore Emanuele, 00186 Roma, Italy Tel: +39 06 0608 ‎

Galleria Doria-Pamphili
Via del Corso, near the Vittorio Emanuele Monument

Courtyard of the Palazzo Pamphili

Doria Pamphili Gallery is a large art collection housed in the Palazzo Doria Pamphili. It is situated between the Via del Corso and Via della Gatta. The principal entrance is on the Via del Corso.

The main collection is displayed in state rooms, including the chapel, complete with the mummified corpse of the family saint. However, the bulk is displayed in a series of four gilded and painted galleries surrounding a courtyard. An extensive suite of further rooms have now been converted to permanent well-lit galleries, containing the medieval and Byzantine art in the collection.

Capitoline Museums
Piazza del Campidoglio

The Palazzo dei Conservatori and the copy of the statue of Marcus Aurelius

photo DrFumblefinger

The Capitoline Museums in Rome, or Musei Capitolini, were established by Pope Clement XII in 1734, making them the first museums in the world open to the public. Actually the museum is spread out in two buildings – the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo – the Capitoline houses numerous artistic and archeological treasures that help to tell the story of Rome: the She-Wolf bronze (La Lupa), the original equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and fragments from a colossal statue of Emperor Constantine.

The She-Wolf (5th cent BC) and Romulus and Remus (16th cent AD)

Piazza del Campidoglio, Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 9:00 am until 8:00 pm, Tel. (0039) 060608 Admission: €11

Explora Children's Museum
Via Flaminia 80

Museo dei Bambini S.C.S. ONLUS
Via Flaminia 80/86, 00196 Roma, Tel. +39 06 3613776
Explora website

Teatro Argentina
Largo di Torre Argentina
, 1732

The Teatro Argentina is an opera house and theatre located in the Largo di Torre Argentina, a square in Rome. It is one of the oldest theaters in Rome, and was inaugurated on January 31, 1732 with “Berenice” by Domenico Sarro.
Largo Argentina 56, ☎ 0668804601

Casa del Goethe
Via del Corso 18

Johann Wolfgang v.Goethe's House

Via del Corso 18 (Bus nr 95, 447, 119, 490, 495, 629, 926), ☎ 0632650412. Open: Tue to Sun 10am to 6pm.

Giorgio De Chirico House-Museum
Piazza di Spagna 31, where Chirico spent the last 30 years of his life

The Giorgio De Chirico House (Casa Museo di Giorgio de Chirico) is a house museum in the 16th century Palazzetto del Borgognoni at Piazza di Spagna 31 in Rome. The house was acquired by Giorgio de Chirico in 1948. It was left to the state by his widow and opened as a museum in 1998. Only open by appointment, it is closed on Mondays and Sundays. The nearest Metro stop is Spagna.

Museum Wikipedia Website
The de Chirico House-Museum – bookings: Tel + 39 06 679 6546, E-mail:
De Chirico Foundation Website (includes extensive photo gallery of his work)