Here is our list of museums we suggest to visit in Rome, if you have some spare time.
They are divided by day when they are conveniently close to the daily activity.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4th
Villa Giulia is a magnificent Renaissance palace located in Villa Borghese area; it was built in 1551-1553 as a country retreat for Pope Julius III by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, one of greatest Italian architects of the 16th century. Many other important artists of the time were involved in the construction, including Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari. Since the end of the 19th century the Villa houses the National Etruscan Museum, a collection of pre-Roman Italian antiquity, particularly from the Etruscan era.
The Vatican Museums boast one of the world’s greatest art collections. Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century and enlarged by successive pontiffs, today it contains roughly 70.000 works that range from Egyptian mummies, Etruscan bronzes and Roman sculptures to the most important masterpieces of Renaissance art.
The highlights of the museum include the collection of classical statuary in the Museo Pio-Clementino – a suite of rooms frescoed by Raphael – and the Sistine Chapel, which hosts Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes and his Giudizio Universale (Last Judgment, 1534-1541). The Chapel’s walls also boast other frescoes painted by the most important Italian artists of the Renaissance, including Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio and Perugino. The Sistine Chapel is, moreover, the place where the conclave meets to elect a new pope.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5th
BASILICA OF ST. CLEMENTE
The Basilica of St. Clemente is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I; it is located near the Colosseum area. Built in the 12th century, the Basilica is a three-tiered complex of buildings. Directly underneath the present basilica, in fact, the excavation of the 19th century found the original 4th century basilica and also a still lower level where is located the home of a Roman nobleman, part of which served as an early church during the 1st century and as a mithraeum in the 2nd century.
The Basilica is a special place for all those who love underground tours and for those who want to live the experience of a journey across the various stages of Rome’s past.
Palazzo Valentini was built in the 16th century by cardinal Michele Bonelli, nephew of Pope Pius V. During its history, it was restored and transformed several times because of the changing of its owners: for instance, the building hosted, over the years, a great Imperial library beloved by art historian Johann Winckelmann and a private theater used by German composer George Handel. In 1827 the Palazzo was bought by the Prussian banker and Consul-General Vincenzo Valentini, who gave his name to the palace. The building became, after 1873, the base of the provincial and prefectural administration in Rome.
Beneath the Palazzo you will find a real treasure: the archeological remains of homes – called Domus Romane – belonging to the wealthy families of Imperial Rome.
The Colosseum – also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and largest ampthiteather ever built, is one of the most iconic symbol of Rome and also one of the most popular tourist attraction of Earth, as it is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. it could held 50,000 spectators. In spite of disasters that devastated its structure – as the earthquakes of AD 847 and AD 1231 or the sack of Rome by Visigoths in AD 410 – the Colosseum still stands up today as the major sign of the ancient Roman greatness.
The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows and also other events, as the animal hunt called venation, the re-enactments of famous battles or executions and dramas. It ceased to be used for entertainment in the early Medieval era; then it was used as a fortress, as a quarry and as a Christian shrine.
The Capitoline Museums is a single museum located in Piazza del Campidoglio, on the top of the Capitoline Hill. The history of the museum began in 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV located there a collection of important ancient bronzes donated to the people of Rome. Pope Clement XII decided to open the collection in 1734: for this reason, this is considered as the first museum of the world, understood as a place where everyone could enjoy art. The collections are closely linked to Rome, and most of the exhibits come from the city itself.
The museum is composed by three main buildings surrounding Piazza del Campidoglio which are interlinked by an underground gallery beneath the Piazza. These buildings are: Palazzo Senatorio and Palazzo Conservatori, both modified and redesigned by Michelangelo, and Palazzo Nuovo. Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino was added later in the XXth century to the museum complex.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6th
NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART
Rome’s National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art is located near Valle Giulia. It hosts 20,000 works – paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations – and offers a great view on art starting from the 1800’s to the present. The home of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art is Palazzo delle Belle Arti, which was designed by the architect and engineer Cesare Bazzani in 1911 to host the Universal Exposition and also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.
The Borghese Gallery in an art gallery housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. Its history began in the 17th century when Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, cardinal nephew of Pope Paul V, commissioned the building of this magnificent villa that was supposed to be the home of the Borghese incredible art collection. The villa, designed by Flaminio Ponzo, was inspired by the imitation of ancient Roman villas. here you will find Bernini’s sculptures, Caravaggio’s paintings and also other important works by Raphael and Canova.