best museums in Rome, Italy

Looking for the best museums in Rome? Rome boasts over 80 museums and art galleries, so if you’re visiting for only a few days, you’ll have to choose just a few of your favorites to explore.

Rome is one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the most visited cities in the world, so it’s certainly no surprise that it also has some of the best museums competing for your attention.

In a city that’s over a thousand years old, you don’t have to go far to find beautiful frescoes, breathtaking architecture, and larger-than-life sculptures. The history of Roman art is everywhere in the Eternal City – palaces, chapels, piazzas, and parks hold some of the best examples of art in the country.

But to find the true masterpieces – after all, this is the country of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli – you’ll have to step into a few of the city’s museums.

From massive spaces like the many Vatican Museums to fascinating hands-on museums or places that pay homage to famous names like Bernini or Donatello, you’ll find something just for you.

Read on and discover the best museums in Rome you shouldn’t miss.

1 – Borghese Gallery

Borghese Gallery, Rome

Housed in the Villa Borghese Pinciana and surrounded by the Villa Borghese gardens (Rome’s third-largest public park), this museum holds most of the collection that was originally put together by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 1600s.

Borghese was an avid art collector and served as a patron for both Caravaggio and Bernini, two of the most important artists of the 17th century. In fact, he used much of his wealth to acquire an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities that included works by Raphael and Titian.

Stunning examples of his collection included the Hermaphrodite, a marble life-size sculpture of a sleeping nude Hermaphroditus, the child of Aphrodite and Hermes. The sculpture dates back to the 2nd century BCE. Cardinal Borghese was also a big fan of Caravaggio, and the collection now has several pieces belonging to the painter. There are also two marble busts of Cardinal Scipione Borghese himself sculpted by Bernini, as well as paintings by Correggio, Cranach, and Dosso Dossi.

As the collection got bigger, Borghese ordered the construction of Villa Borghese to house it all, where most of the works still remain. The collection kept growing even after Borghese’s death, and pieces from the Lucretia d’Este and Cardinal Salviati collections were added. Although most of the collection is from the 16th and 17th centuries, the exhibit galleries inside the villa also display classical antiquities, including a number of third-century AD mosaics found on the villa grounds.

The Borghese Gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions, which have included topics like Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome (featuring sculptures by Italian artists).

The gardens around the gallery are also home to the Villa Giulia (now housing the Etruscan Museum), Villa Medici (now the French Academy in Rome), and buildings left over from the 1911 International Exhibition of Art. These include the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and a number of pavillions.

See also: Borghese Gallery last minute tickets

2 – Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums

Vatican City is home to an impressive number of museums – a total of 54 galleries with over 1400 rooms housing one of the world’s most impressive art collections. About 20,000 artworks are exhibited at any time (out of a collection that contains more than 70,000 pieces) in all museums.

This very impressive collection started back in the 1500s, when Pope Julius II bought a larger-than-life marble statue called “Laocoön and His Sons.” The statue – which depicts a Trojan priest and his two sons being attacked by snakes – dates back to the Hellenistic Period and it’s still on display at the Vatican Museums.

With so much to see, it’s simply not possible to visit all Vatican Museums in a day or even a week. To make things more confusing, some well-known attractions – like the Sistine Chapel and its beautiful frescoes and St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest church – are also part of the Vatican Museums. So when choosing what to see and what to skip, try to focus on a few favorites.

In addition to the famous chapel and basilica, there are a number of other great museums worth visiting while in Vatican City. The Gregorian Etruscan Museum and the Egyptian Museum are dedicated to chronicling these civilizations through artifacts, sarcophagus, papyrus, and reproductions of the Book of the Dead.

There’s also the Gallery of Maps and the Gallery of Statues and Hall of Busts, as well as the Raphael Rooms, which hold some of the most stunning frescoes ever painted by Raphael.

Galleries for tapestries, Christian art, lapidaries, and even modern art are also available. The Borgia Apartments, which was once served as the residence for Pope Alexander VI, is a less known but very beautiful museum worth a visit.

Make sure you don’t miss the stunning double-helix Bramante Spiral Staircase inside the Pio-Clementino Museum.

See also: Vatican Museum tickets price, Vatican Museum early access tickets, Vatican Museum last minute tickets, best Vatican Museums tours

3 – National Roman Museum

National Roman Museum, Rome

This multi-branch museum is completely dedicated to chronicling Rome’s early history, archeological findings, and how the Eternal City came to be. The museum was originally created in the 1890s to showcase archeological items, though it eventually expanded as new collections were added.

Although the main seat of the museum now occupies the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, the museum didn’t move there until 1998, after the neglected building had been heavily renovated.

Each floor of the museum is dedicated to a particular era or part of the collection, with the ground and first floor focusing on sculptures dating back from the times of the Roman Republic to the Imperial periods. These are the times ending in the 1st century AD.

Some of the most impressive artifacts in the collection date from this period, including the late 2nd century AD Portonaccio sarcophagus, an impressive and heavily sculpted box likely used for a Roman general. There are also vases and a number of large marble sculptures.

The second floor of the museum is dedicated to frescos, some of which date back to the 1st century BC. There are also stuccoes and mosaics on this floor. All three were essential elements in aristocratic Roman households and tell a history of power and riches.

The basement of the palazzo holds the museum’s numismatic and medals collections. It not only displays ancient coins (including ducats or trading coins that once belonged to Pope Paul II) but also documents showing what things cost back in Roman times.

The other buildings that are part of the museum are the 15th century Palazzo Altemps (home to temporary exhibit space, a church, and sculptures from the Renaissance), Crypta Balbi (objects from collections in other museums, as well as archeological remains), and the Baths of Diocletian, a 1500s cloister that was designed by Michelangelo.

4 – National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy

Often referred to as just “La Galleria Nazionale”, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, a beautiful building decorated with sculptures by Italian artists like Giovanni Prini and Adolfo Laurenti.

The size of the building is actually disproportionately large for the collection displayed inside – only about 1,100 paintings and sculptures are in exhibition at any time (though the entire collection includes over 20,000 pieces), which provides plenty of space for visitors to admire the architecture of the place and spend time enjoying the art without having to bump elbows with other people.

The gallery has the largest collection of 19th and 20th-century art in the entire country and it’s the only museum in the country dedicated exclusively to modern and contemporary art.

It includes works by Futurism movement sculptor Umberto Boccioni, Neoclassical marble sculptor Antonio Canova, and painter and poet Giacomo Balla. Other Italian artists represented in the gallery include Giorgio Morandi and Giacomo Manzu. There’s also a significant number of works by foreign artists, including classic masters like Monet, Rodin, Van Gogh, and  Cézanne.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the gallery also hosts installations and temporary exhibits for young artists, collections, and collaborative works. It also runs special artist workshops for those with a creative flair looking to explore special techniques or needing a helping hand with their art.

A number of other smaller museums, housed in different buildings throughout Rome, are part of the National Gallery. These include the Decorative Arts Museum, which houses decorative arts, costumes, and fashion items, the Museum-House of Hendrik Andersen, and the House Museum Mario Praz.

5 – Leonardo da Vinci Museum

Leonardo da Vinci Museum, Rome

No other place showcases the universal genius of Leonardo Da Vinci like this museum. Da Vinci was both a scientist and an artist, with extensive knowledge of engineering, architecture, anatomy, cartography, and astronomy. He was also an avid painter and sculptor, creating iconic pieces such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

In fact, he is remembered as one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance, though his scientific achievements are perhaps even more magnificent. Some of his inventions and designs – including a prototype for a submarine and sketches for an aircraft – couldn’t even be constructed until centuries after his death because the technology didn’t exist during his lifetime.

This museum has made it possible to experience all those facets of Da Vinci in one place. See his drawings for machines, discover his amazing anatomic sketches, and learn about his life and work through multimedia stations and videos.

If you didn’t get enough of Da Vinci’s amazing work at the museum, a nice next stop is the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition, where you’ll find over 200 machines (including 65 working ones) created by following original Da Vinci’s sketches.

Here, you don’t just get to see life-size models of things like a helicopter, clock or crane, but you get to operate them or handle them to understand how they work. This space also has life-size reproductions of 20 of Da Vinci’s most famous paintings, so you can get up close and personal and discover every little detail.

You can round up your Da Vinci’s discovery day at the Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition, where you can see wood prototypes of some of his machines, learn more about his inventions, and get into the mind of one of history’s most amazing minds. This museum is smaller than the other ones, so if you only have an hour or two to explore, this might be a good one to try.

6 – Museo Napoleonico

Museo Napoleonico, Rome
credit to Turismo Roma

Count Giuseppe Napoleone Primoli – a descendant of Napoleon’s brother on his mother’s side — is responsible for the comprehensive collection you see today at the Museo Napoleonico. Primoli, who was born in Rome in 1851 but spent much of his life traveling back and forth between Italy and France, was an avid collector. His interest in the Bonaparte heritage drove him to gather lots of documentation on the Bonaparte family at first – but then eventually also to collect art, relics, and a number of heirlooms connected to his famous ancestor.

When Primoli died in 1927, he left the entire collection to the city of Rome, and the Museo Napoleonico was born. Housed on the ground floor of the 17th century Palazzo Primoli, which also belonged to Primoli, the museum feels more like a peek into family life than a formal museum, with details here and there that truly bring to life Napoleon’s life and the family’s connection to the city of Rome.

In addition to historical furniture and portraits of Napoleon, the museum also displays a number of objects that belonged to members of the family, including jewelry, porcelain, swords, and even snuff boxes that Napoleon would gift to visiting dignitaries. The collection also includes special items like a Urania pendulum clock, beautiful candelabra, and a card game once given to Napoleon during his exile.

The museum is divided into a number of rooms that cover not only the time of Napoleon himself, but also the period after the fall of Napoleon and the subsequent rise of Napoleon III, and the Second Empire period, under the rule of Napoleon III. Most of the furniture in the museum comes from the Second Empire era.

The museum is also home to a library and host to events – from readings by historical authors to musical evenings to photographic exhibits retelling the history of the Bonaparte family.

7 – Trick your mind at the Museum of Illusions Rome

Museo delle Illusioni, Rome
credit to Museo delle Illusioni

Enter a universe where the impossible becomes reality at the Museum of Illusions Rome. Perfect for an adventure with friends or family, this venue offers a surprisingly fun playground. Your senses may be deceived, but your heart will be completely delighted.

From a dizzying vortex tunnel where you balance yourself on a rotating stable cylinder, to a cloning table where you create five clones of yourself, or the infinity room, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors creating the illusion of unending space, you can immerse yourself in a fantasy world defying the laws of physics.

Each room and each installation is designed to challenge your assumptions and playfully remind you that perception is often the specter of illusion. Discover the science behind vision, engage in educational games in the playroom, and capture endless photographic memories of incredible scenes.

This sensory, visual and educational experience is packed with awe-inspiring illusions that will captivate visitors of all ages. The Museum of Illusions in Rome is more than just a visit, it’s an unforgettable journey into a breathtaking world. Are you ready to experience the impossible?

8 – Scuderie del Quirinale

Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome

The Scuderie del Quirinale was built in the early 1700s to function as the Papal stables – which it did for almost two hundred years. By 1980, the grand palace had been transformed into a museum of carriages, and then eventually became the exhibitions and cultural event space it is today.

Over the last decade, it has become one of the most popular venues for temporary art exhibits in the city, a beautiful reconstructed space that rests on the ruins of the Roman temple of Serapis.

With a massive 3000 square meters of space spread over several floors, the gallery often can host several exhibitions at the same time. Recent ones have included a curated collection of works of art representing Dante’s Inferno, a showcase in honor of the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, and a Pompeii and Santorini presentation.

The building also houses a restaurant, a cafe, and a bookshop, where you can grab not only something to read but also a pretty souvenir or two. A corner of the bookshop is always dedicated to books and items connected to current exhibitions.

9 – Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo

Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

The building that houses the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo is as unique as they come. Over the centuries, it has served as a fortress, prison, military barracks, and papal residence. By 1901, some sections of the building were already open for exhibitions, mostly displaying ancient weapons discovered during excavations in the area.

From there, the collections started to grow with the addition of coins, pottery, and ancient sculptures. A picture gallery was soon added to display paintings and historical furnishings.

Today, the museum is divided into different galleries and outdoor spaces over seven floors. On the ground floor, there’s an older courtyard now known as “The courtyard of the shootings” because it’s likely the prison’s death sentences (by firing squad) were carried out here. There’s also a mid-eighteenth-century chapel and the atrium and ramps that lead to the Mausoleum.

Level two of the building also has a lot of outdoor spaces, including a walkway along the external walls which was once used by guards patrolling the building, four bastions, and an 800-meter-long protected walkway that popes would use to walk from Castel Sant’Angelo to their Vatican residence. The views from the outdoor spaces and towers are also great.

Visitors can also tour the historical prisons and armories, and then walk through the many rooms that were once part of the papal apartments – including the stunning bathtub room decorated with stucco and paintings on the walls and ceiling. Galleries holding frescoes, drawings, paintings, and sculptures are spread throughout the building, with notable examples including marble and copper statues like the 16th century San Michele Arcangelo statue sculpted by Raffaello da Montelupo.

Audio guide tours are available to help you explore on your own and the museum also has a cafeteria and a bookshop where you can pick up not only books but also souvenirs.

10 – The Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums, Rome

The Capitoline Museums are technically several museums in one. Dedicated to art and archeology, they occupy a series of buildings located on the  Piazza del Campidoglio, on to of one of the “seven hills of Rome.”

Michelangelo himself designed a plan for the two main buildings, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo. The Galleria di Congiunzione and the Sala Marco Aurelio gallery were added later on to complete the museum complex.

The beginnings of the museum can be traced to a number of bronze statues donated by Pope Sixtus IV  back in 1471. Since then, the collection has continued to grow and today includes everything from paintings and sculptures to coins, imperial busts, and decorations.

The Palazzo dei Conservatori holds most of the ancient sculpture collection and includes some of the most impressive pieces, including the Romulus and Remus bronze as well as a number of tapestries, frescoes the coin collection, and more. This is also the most ornate of all the museum buildings, with beautiful architecture and carved ceilings.

At the Palazzo Nuovo, you’ll find more Roman sculptures and busts, but also sarcophagi and smaller items. But the key holdings here are the 2nd century CE marble Cupid and Psyche, the gigantic Oceanus statue located in the courtyard, and a number of great mosaics.

The other two buildings are much newer. The Galleria di Congiunzione was built in the 1930s and now holds a number of epigraphs as well as the Lapidaria collection. The Sala Marco Aurelio, sometimes referred to as simply “the new wing” – was built in 1996 to hold a number of large pieces, including an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius that stands over four-meter tall and the only surviving fragments of the colossus of Constantine, a bronze statue from the  4th century that likely stood 12 meters tall.

The Capitoline Museums host temporary exhibits throughout the year that help complement the permanent collection. In the past, these have included multimedia exhibitions retelling the story of the city of Rome, insights on Rome before Caesar, and painting showcases from historical and modern painters.

11 – MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art

MAXXI contemporary art museum, Rome

MAXXI (officially Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo) is the first museum in Italy dedicated exclusively to contemporary art and architecture. The building housing MAXXI is a work of art in itself. Designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and awarded a prize for high architectural standards, MAXXI is mostly glass and concrete, a modern contrast to Rome’s historical surroundings.

Inside, MAXXI boasts huge open spaces cut with ramps and grand staircases to connect floors and rooms in a catwalk-like design. In other words, MAXXI itself is as much a work of art as the collections within it.

MAXXI houses two permanent collections: one of over 400 words of international art and another one representing the architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries. The art collection includes both up-and-coming and emerging artists as well as established names like Alighiero Boetti, William Kentridge, and Gerhard Richter.

The architecture collections are made up of design drawings, models, video recordings, sculptures and photographs of architectural spaces and projects. As even the permanent collection is often rotated throughout the year, you can expect to find a different museum every time you visit.

In addition to permanent collections, the museum also features temporary and rotating exhibitions that focus on unique aspects of art and architecture — from a showcase on the futurist house of artist Giacomo Balla to a look at the work of women in architecture to an intense photographic exhibit about the Brazilian Amazon. As the gallery space available at MAXXI is so large, there are usually several ones going on at the same time.

Workshops, lectures, shows, and other special events also offered regularly, many of which are free.

12 – Doria Pamphilj Gallery

Doria Pamphili Gallery, Rome

The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, which houses the collection of the same name, is the largest palace in private ownership in Rome – in fact, the palace has been in the princely Roman Doria Pamphilj Landi family for centuries. It’s also one of Rome’s hidden gems and you don’t even have to be an art lover to enjoy its beauty.

The palace has been renovated and expanded over the years, and today a significant part of the collection is housed in the chapel and staterooms. Other rooms have been reconfigured into galleries to display the growing collection.

The chapel, one of the most elaborate parts of the palace, was designed in 1689 and features beautifully painted ceilings and dome, as well as preserved relics, a hanging lamp designed by Bernini, and touches of gold everywhere.

Another important display area for the collection is the Quattro Bracci della Galleria, a long corridor-like room filled with 18th-century paintings. This hall connects to several other rooms, all characterized for vibrant décor in golds and deep reds. You’ll find ornate 18th-century furniture, paintings by Contarini and Pussino, and portrait busts by Algardi in those rooms.

An especially stunning room is the Gallery of Mirrors, decorated with 18th-century Venetian mirrors and a large Egyptian porphyry vase.

There’s also the private Princess Apartments, which are still used as the residence of descendants of the Doria Pamphilj Landi family. They are located on the second floor of the palace (the galleries occupy the ground floor). Richly decorated with each room favoring a particular color (visitors can tour the yellow room, the blue room, and the green room), they preserve the family’s original furnishings and personal objects.

Pick up an audio guide at the entrance so you don’t miss out on the background of the place and the people who call it home as you walk through the rooms.

13 – National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia, Rome

The Etruscan Museum is housed in the Villa Giulia, located in the Villa Borghese gardens. It was originally built in the mid-1500s by request of Pope Julius III and some big names of the time worked on it. These include architects Vignola and Bartolomeo Ammannati, painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, and even Michelangelo.

Little remains of the old villa (the original three vineyards are still there) and what you see today was in great part reconstructed during the 18th century. The Etruscan Museum, which already existed by 1889, moved into the villa at the beginning of the 20th century.

Today, the museum holds a significant collection of pre-Roman pieces, mostly from the Etruscan civilization. The most significant piece and the museum’s main attraction is the Sarcophagus of the Spouses, a stunning terracotta sarcophagus that dates back to the 530-510 BC and features a couple lying on a couch-lie surdace in a relaxed, loving moment.

Other significant pieces in the collection include a life-size terracotta statue of Apollo, almost 100 decorative bowls, and the three golden Pyrgi tablets, which chronicle the foundation of a temple. There are also many pieces of pottery, funeral urns, and sculptures in the collection, as well as jewelry.

The villa itself can be considered part of the museum’s art collection, as it’s decorated with a number of frescoes representing the Seven Hills of Rome. Near the National Etruscan Museum, in the gardens of the villa, there’s also a life-size reproduction of a 3rd century BC Etruscan temple.

Temporary exhibitions, live concerts, lectures, and book readings are organized at the museum throughout the year. It’s also possible to join free guided tours of the gardens around the villa or special themed tours of the museum itself.

For a unique souvenir, stop by the museum’s bookshop, which in addition to books, it also sells reproductions of Etruscan artifacts, including jewelry, pottery and bronze pieces.

14 – Chiostro del Bramante

Chiostro del Bramante, Rome
“Dream, L’arte incontra i sogni” exhibition

The Chiostro del Bramante (Cloisters of Bramante) is part of a large complex that also includes the 15th-century Santa Maria della Pace church, home to beautiful frescoes painted by Raphael himself. The cloisters, designed by architect Donato Bramante (believed to have introduced the first High Renaissance style buildings to Rome at the beginning of the century) were added a few years later and completed in 1504.

Designed in a Renaissance style with plenty of traditional, sober decorative elements, the cloisters now serve as a space for contemporary art exhibitions as well as special events. The cloisters offer a unique opportunity to admire the stunning six-meters wide fresco “Le Sibille” by Raffaello Sanzio. Sanzio had an important place in ancient Rome – he designed the apartments inside the Vatican Museum and is now buried at the Pantheon.

The exhibition galleries at the cloisters are spread over a 1,000 square meters space and several rooms. They feature everything from work by new and young artists as well as traditional exhibitions and cultural events. Past exhibitions have focused on topics like the photographic work of famous director Stanley Kubrick, the work of world-renowned Banksy, a joint exhibition by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, and contemporary art of the twentieth century.

There’s also space for shows, fairs, and other events, both private and open to the public. There’s a coffee bar that in addition to great food also offers showcase space for young artists. The cloisters’ bookshop offers not only a great selection of art books but also multimedia items, merchandise related to current exhibitions, and collectibles.

The cloisters also offer three apartments, where visitors can stay overnight to soak up the incredible medieval atmosphere long after everybody else has gone home. There’s also a children’s art academy within the museum, and additional classes like meditation, yoga, and art are also offered for adults throughout the year. No matter when you’re visiting, it’s worth checking out their calendar to see what’s on at the time.

15 – Museo dell’Ara Pacis

Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Rome, Rome

This relatively new museum, which opened in 2006, was created primarily to hold the Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of Augustan Peace. The altar and the “room” around it, which date back to the 13 BC, was built to celebrate the return of Emperor Augustus after a successful campaign in Spain. The structure originally sat just north of Rome.

The monument measures 11×10 meters and it’s almost five meters tall. It consists of a room-like structure with no roof and two large doors with steps that lead to a stepped pedestal and altar located in the center of the room. Most of the altar has been destroyed and lost over the centuries, but the walls are wonderfully preserved as they’re built of strong white-grey Luna marble.

The entire structure is covered in relief panels featuring mythological, scholarly, and political figures as well as animals and nature. Some of the images also represent members of the imperial family and even some children that might have been the emperor’s children.

Over the centuries, the River Tiber flooded the area where the monument was located and it wasn’t until the 16th century that fragments of it were first found. Although excavations continued on and off for centuries, the structure wasn’t rebuilt until the 1930s and was first placed near the mausoleum on Piazza Augusto Imperatore that serves as Augustus’ last resting place.

The Ara Pacis now rests inside a modern glass and steel building that also holds a number of other temporary exhibits, as well as a small entry space dedicated to displaying bust portraits of the first five Roman emperors.

Past temporary exhibits have included photographic collections, the history of myths, the life and career of Marcello Mastroianni, and the myth and history behind Spartacus and slaves in ancient Rome. The museum also has an auditorium offering lectures, film screenings, and musical events.

16 – National Gallery of Ancient Art in Barberini Palace

National Gallery of Ancient Art, Rome

Dedicated to ancient art (and especially ancient paintings), the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica occupies two distinct sites: the 18th century Palazzo Corsini and the 17th century Palazzo Barberini.

The larger part of the collection is held at Palazzo Barberini, which features stunning ceiling frescoes and holds some of the best pieces ever created by Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini, Tintoretto, and El Greco. A large part of the over 5000 paintings and sculptures in the collection are exhibited here, with the main focus being in the 15th and 16th centuries. Later additions to the collections form a smaller representation of 18th-century art, with works by Batoni and Bouchers. Palazzo Barberini is also home to two beautiful helicoidal staircases – one of them designed by Bernini as a square shaft.

Palazzo Corsini holds early-Renaissance pieces, religious works, and an important complete collection of 17th-century paintings that were acquired by the Italian state together with the palazzo. The collection has continued to grow over the years, though at some point it was decided that all new acquisitions will be sent to Palazzo Barberini instead.

Some of the masterpieces on display include a portrait of Henry VIII by the court’s personal painter, Hans Holbein, the extra-large (over 2 meters high) Veiled Woman marble sculpture, and the oil on canvas called Narcissus by Caravaggio.

The museum hosts temporary exhibitions, which have covered topics like photography exhibits, arts and mathematics, violence and seduction in painting, and the work and restoration of Murillo’s Madonna del Latte. Lectures, readings, educational workshops, and free guided visits to the museum for those who want to better understand its history and collections.

Visit the best museums in Rome on a budget

We hope you found helpful our list of the best museums in Rome. Don’t hesitate to comment below if you wish to recommend another museum or art gallery.

Traveling on budget? With so many museums and galleries to discover, exploring Rome can quickly get expensive. If you’re staying in the Eternal City for several days and want to make the most of it, the Rome Pass can not only save you money but also time.

There a number of different passes available, including 48-hour and 72-hour passes that cover free entrance to a number of museums and archeological sites, plus discounts on other exhibitions and events and access to public transportation.

Other passes allow you access to the main underground venues in Rome, plus a special skip-the-line pass for the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

There’s a never-ending list of things to do in Rome, and choosing where to spend your time can be tricky. We hope this list of the best museums and galleries can help you narrow it down!

Diana Bocco is a freelance writer and a seasoned globe-trotter who’s lived in six different countries across three continents — from Thailand’s jungles to New York City’s iconic skyline and Prague’s cobblestone streets. In addition to writing about travel, she also works in animal advocacy and rescue anywhere she goes. Diana’s work has appeared in leading publications globally, including National Geographic, Yahoo!, Ripley’s, and PetMD.