Rome is renowned for its rich history and cultural heritage, and there are few better ways to experience this than by visiting one of the city's many museums. From the Vatican Museums to the Capitoline Museums, Rome offers a wide range of options for those interested in art, archaeology, and history.
But even if you're not a particularly big fan of museums, there are still plenty of reasons to pay a visit. Many of Rome's museums offer stunning views of the city, and many are located in close proximity to other attractions such as the Colosseum or the Roman Forum. In addition, many museums offer guided tours that provide valuable insights into Rome's fascinating past. So whether you're a History buff or just looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon, be sure to add some of the best museums curated below to your Rome itinerary.
The Vatican Museums are a collection of art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City State. The network of museums contains some of the world's most important artistic, cultural, and historical treasures. The museums trace their origins back to the early sixteenth century, when Pope Julius II founded the Museo Pio-Clementino to house his collection of antiquities. Over the centuries, successive Popes expanded the museums, adding new wings and buildings to accommodate their ever-growing art collections. Today, the museums encompass 54 galleries, with works from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as from Renaissance painters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The Sistine Chapel, with its iconic ceiling painted by Michelangelo, is also part of the Vatican Museums. In addition to its art collections, the Vatican Museums also house an extensive collection of coins, medals, and other objects. With over 70,000 items on display, the Vatican Museums attract millions of visitors each year from all over the world.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
Last Sundays: 9 AM - 2 PM
Closed on all Sundays, except for the last Sunday of the month, when entry is free.
- St Peter’s Basilica is free to visit, the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel are not. Make sure to purchase a ticket in advance.
- It takes about 3 hours to explore the Vatican Museum. Wear comfortable footwear during your visit.
- The Vatican does have a dress code. For entry into the Vatican, shoulders, and knees must be covered for both men, women, and children.
The Galleria Borghese is one of the most significant art museums in Rome. Housed in a elegant seventeenth-century villa, the museum is home to an exceptional collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities. Among the most famous works on display are sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, including his masterpiece, David. The Galleria Borghese also boasts an impressive collection of paintings by Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Raphael, Caravaggio, and Titian. In addition to its unparalleled art collection, the museum is also notable for its beautiful setting in the Borghese Gardens. Visitors can stroll through the manicured grounds and enjoy views of several other historic villas, including the Villa Farnese. With its combination of world-class art and breathtaking gardens, the Galleria Borghese is a must-see for anyone visiting Rome.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE GALLERIA BORGHESE
Last entrance is at 5:45 PM
Closed on 1st January and 25th December
- Arrive atleast 30 minutes before your assigned time slot.
- You can store use the cloakroom to store your baggage.
- Once done with Borghese Gallery, don't forget to visit the park and zoo, or even row a boat in the nearby lake.
Castel Sant'Angelo Museum
The Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo is a beautiful and historic site that is well worth a visit. The castle was originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and it has been used as a fortification, a palace, and a prison over the centuries. The museum contains an impressive collection of art and artifacts, including sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and armor. The highlight of the museum is the Rotunda of Hadrian, which offers a stunning view of Rome. Visitors can also enjoy the castle grounds, which feature gardens, fountains, and a statue of the Archangel Michael. The Castel Sant'Angelo Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in history or art.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE CASTEL SANT'ANGELO
Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
The Pantheon is a massive temple located in the center of Rome. It was built during the reign of Augustus, and is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings in the world. The Pantheon is made up of a series of grandiose chambers, each with a massive domed ceiling. The dome itself is nearly 143 feet in diameter, and is supported by an impressive network of pillars and arches. The Pantheon is considered one of the most significant architectural achievements in history, and continues to be a popular tourist destination. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is home to an impressive collection of art and artifacts from Ancient Greece and Rome. Visitors to the Pantheon can learn about the history of Ancient Rome, see some of its most famous artworks, and explore one of its most impressive buildings.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE ROMAN PANTHEON
Admission closes at 6:30
- Visitors are expected to dress modestly since the Pantheon is also a church. Make sure that your knees, shoulders, and midriff are covered.
- You cannot drink, eat or smoke inside the Pantheon.
- Make sure to read up on the Pantheon in advance to have an enriching experience
The Capitoline Museums are located on the top of Capitoline Hill in Rome. They consist of two museums, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo, and a series of outdoor sculptures. The museums contain a large collection of Roman art, with pieces dating from the 2nd century BC to the 21st century. The Palazzo dei Conservatori houses the Capitoline Wolf, a life-size bronze sculpture of a wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. The Palazzo Nuovo contains a series of statues known as the Griffins, which were excavated in the 19th century. The museums also contain a number of paintings, including works by Titian and Caravaggio. The Capitoline Museums are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rome, and they offer a fascinating insight into the city's rich cultural heritage.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS
Except on 24 and 31 December - from 9:30 PM - 2 PM
Admission closes 1 hour before closing time
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna is one of the premier museums of modern art in Italy. Located in Rome, the gallery is home to a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and other works by some of the most influential artists of the past two centuries. The museum's collection includes works by Italian masters such as Giovanni Boldini and Giacomo Balla, as well as international figures such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. With over 4,000 works on display, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna provides a comprehensive overview of the development of modern art. Visitors can explore the museum's many temporary exhibitions, or take a guided tour to learn more about the history and evolution of this important artistic genre.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE GALLERIA NAZIONALE D'ARTE MODERNA
Admission closes 45 minutes before the closing time
Closed on Mondays
The Capuchin Crypt, located in Rome, Italy, is a small space that houses the bones of 4000 Friars. The crypt was built in 1631 and contains the remains of 3000 friars buried between 1528 and 1870. The remaining 1000 bones are visible through two glass panels. The crypt is an ossuary, which is a type of burial site where bones are stored. The Friars were from the order of Saint Francis of Assisi, and they chose to be buried in the crypt because they believed in simplicity and humility. The crypt has been called "the most touching of all cemeteries" because of its unique decoration. The walls and ceilings are adorned with the bones of the Friars, and some of the bones are arranged in decorative patterns. The Capuchin Crypt is a unique and macabre destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the mortality of man.DISCOVER MORE THE CAPUCHIN CRYPTS
Sunday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Admission closes 30 minutes before the closing time.
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica is one of the most important museums in Rome. Housed in the Palazzo Barberini, the museum contains an extensive collection of works from the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods. Highlights of the collection include paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Gentileschi, as well as a wide range of sculptures and tapestries. The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica is also home to an important library and archives, which are open to scholars by appointment. In addition to its exhibitions, the museum frequently organizes lectures, workshops, and other events for the public. With its rich collection and wide range of programs, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica provides a window into the history of art in Rome.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE GALLERIA NAZIONALE D'ARTE ANTICA
Closed on Mondays
- Wednesdays are the least crowded days to visit.
- Book your tickets atleast 3 days in advance to avoid last minute delay.
Museo Nazionale Romano
The Museo Nazionale Romano is a world-renowned museum complex located in Rome, Italy. The museum draws over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The complex consists of three main branches, each of which houses a different collection. The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is home to the museum's extensive collection of Roman sculptures, while the Palazzo Altemps houses a rich selection of Renaissance and Baroque art. The third and largest branch of the museum, the Crypta Balbi, contains a wealth of archaeological artifacts from the Roman period. In addition to its world-famous collections, the Museo Nazionale Romano also offers a variety of educational programs and special exhibitions throughout the year.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE NATIONAL ROMAN MUSEUM
Closed on all Mondays, December 25 and January 1
- Buy the tickets in advance to jump the queue.
- Make sure to wear comfortable footwear since you'll have to walk around the four sites.
Ostia Antica is an archaeological site located in Rome, Italy. The site includes the remains of an ancient Roman city that was founded around 600 BCE. The city flourished as a major port for Rome until it was eventually abandoned in the 4th century CE. Today, Ostia Antica is a popular tourist destination, as it provides a unique insight into everyday life in the Roman Empire. Visitors to the site can explore the ruins of houses, shops, and public buildings, as well as the city's ancient harbor. Ostia Antica is also home to a number of museums, which offer more information about the history of the site and the Roman Empire.DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE OSTIA ANTICA
Closed on Mondays, 1st January, April 19th, 26th, August 16th, 25th December, and December 27th.
Have an extra day in Rome?
If you have an extra day to spend on your trip to Rome, then you can go on a day trip from Rome to some nearby destinations. For culture and beautiful architecture, a day trip to Florence is a must. You can explore the art galleries, beautiful gardens, and several architectural marvels on your visit here.
Another great option is Venice , also known as the ‘City of Canals’, where you can enjoy a boat cruise with a gorgeous view of the city. For history buffs, Naples is one of the most beautiful cities to visit on a day trip from Rome which also happens to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. There are many other amazing places such as Tivoli, Amalfi, Siena, etc. that you can cover as a day trip from Rome if you have an extra day to spend.
Ready to Explore Rome?
Fancy heading out to some other must-visit Rome attractions? Take inspiration from our list of the best things to do in Rome here. Use our comprehensive Rome Travel Guide to explore the rest of Rome in a hassle-free fashion with all the need-to-know information in hand.
Here are a few more attraction guides that could come handy.