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Rome's Top 10 : Museums and Galleries

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  1. Vatican Museums

    Occupying papal palaces dating from the 13th century onwards, these galleries include the Graeco-Roman antiquities, the Etruscan Museum, four Raphael Rooms, the Collection of Modern Religious Art, the Sistine Chapel and the Picture Gallery .

    Sala dei Misteri, Vatican Museums
  2. Museo Nazionale Romano

    Founded in 1889, this museum’s holdings include archaeological finds and antiquities unearthed since 1870, plus pre-existing collections. The works are spread around five separate locations: the Baths of Diocletian, the Aula Ottagona – a part of the baths, nearby Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, and the recently opened Crypta Balbi .

  3. Galleria Borghese

    A tribute to the unbridled power of favoured papal nephews in the 1600s, this pleasure-palace, its priceless collections of art, and its newly restored gardens comprise one of the most gorgeous sights in Rome .

    Galleria Borghese
  4. Musei Capitolini

    The glorious square, designed by no less than Michelangelo, is home to smaller papal art collections than the Vatican’s, but equally invaluable .

    Palazzo dei Conservatori, Musei Capitoline
  5. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica

    This state art collection is now divided between two noble family residences: Palazzo Barberini  and Palazzo Corsini. The first boasts the Gran Salone, with its dazzling illusionistic ceiling by Pietro da Cortona, along with works by Filippo Lippi, El Greco, Holbein and Caravaggio. The second houses a Fra Angelico triptych, and paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Caravaggio.

  6. Villa Giulia

    The building itself is a 16th-century country retreat designed for Pope Julius III by Vignola. Since 1889, it has housed the state collection of pre-Roman art, including Etruscan artifacts and relics of the Latins and other tribes. The prize Etruscan work is the 6th-century BC Husband and Wife Sarcophagus, a large terracotta showing a serenely smiling couple on a couch .

    Villa Giulia
  7. Galleria Doria Pamphilj

    This aristocratic family’s palace is filled with masterpieces by such painters as Raphael, Titian and Velázquez, whose portrait of the Pamphilj pope is famous for its psychological depth. This exhibit is fortunate to have a superb audio-guide, narrated by the present-day Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj (in English) that gives rare insight into the history of the collection .

  8. Palazzo and Galleria Spada

    This superb 16th-century palace contains a specially built 17th-century gallery to hold the cardinals’ collection of Renaissance, Baroque and later works, including paintings by Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. One of the high points is Borromini’s whimsical trompe-l’oeil gallery, a clever study in illusory perspective that appears to be four times longer that it really is .

  9. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna

    The belle époque home to this collection offers sculptures by Canova and an exhaustive view of 19th-century Italian and European painting. There is also an eclectic selection of modern works, including artists Rodin, Cézanne, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Klimt and Jackson Pollock.

    • Viale delle Belle Arti, 131

    • 06 323 4000

    • Open 8:30am–7:30pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

  10. Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna

    Begun from a small donation to the city in 1883, this collection has grown to include examples of every major 19th- and 20th-century Italian artistic movement. Exhibitions include canvases by De Chirico, Morandi and Afro, as well as sculptures.

    • Via Francesco Crispi 24

    • 06 474 2848

    • The gallery is undergoing restoration work, call ahead for opening times

    • Adm

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