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The National museum of Rome tops our list as the most visited museum in Rome and could be considered many different museums since there are several buildings in different parts of Rome. Founded in 1889 the museum originally intended to collect antiquities from the period between the fifth century BC to around the third century AD.
Reported to have one of the best and most important collections of archaeological finds in the world they are housed by type in the different buildings.
The Crypta Balby building which once was a theater houses illustration of how the Roman society changed from ancient times to now.
The Octagonal Hall which is actually part of the Baths of Diocletian has an impressive collection of funerary art as well as sculptures in marble and bronze from various baths around Rome.
The Palazzo Massimo building has a nice collection of ancient jewelry, coins, mosaics, paintings and sculptures from various time periods.
The Palazzo Altemps building has some impressive renaissance art including sculptures by many artist of the time. This location also as a good sized collection of Egyptian deity sculptures. All locations of the National museum of Rome have large areas for the exhibition of traveling collections meaning you could see something new every time you go.
The Scuderie del Quirinale could be considered an exhibition hall rather than a museum because the majority of the art inside it is normally on loan from other museums or from private collectors. However the length of the exhibitions and quality the art is why it is the second most visited museum in Rome. Scuderie del Quirinale first level contains a full cafeteria and an education center.
Exhibitions will vary from one exhibit to the other and can range from ancient art to renaissance art up to the latest modern art by today's top artists.
Originally built on top of the ruins of the baths of Constantine and took from 1722 to 1732 to complete and was at one time the official residence of the President of Italy. Overall a wonderful place to visit and easy to get to.
The Gallery of Borghese is located on the massive Borghese estate in the heart of Rome and features some of the largest collections of various artist in Italy. Some of the features include a collection of magnificent sculptures by the artist Bernini and an impressive number of paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, they are only a few of many famous artists on exhibit in the gallery.
In all the gallery houses a little over 150 statues 160 busts and approximately 170 reliefs along with hundreds paintings all of which are displayed throughout the gallery.
The gallery is in what was the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. The building for many is more associated with the Borghese Gardens and is considered a separate tourist attraction. The impressive collection of art inside the gallery was original start by Scipione Borghese who himself helped design the villa.
Vatican Museum is what most people think of when going to the Vatican Museums because many people don't realize there is more than one museum inside Vatican City. Within the museums you will find one the largest and greatest collections of art in the world primarily due to the catholic church collected and preserved art in many forms for centuries and includes some of the most important paintings and sculptures of the renaissance period.
Founded in the early 16th century by Pope Julius II with the very first purchase 500 years ago of the sculpture of Laocoon and was put on display very soon after.
One of the highlights of the Vatican Museums is the Sistine Chapel with world renowned artists such as Michelangelo who painted the ceiling and Raphael who decorated much of the interior. In another part of the museum complex you will find the famous Michelangelo statute the Pieta depicting the body of Jesus Christ laying on his mother Mary's lap after being taken down from the cross.
The Capitoline Museums is yet another museum that is contained in two buildings but unlike the national museums are across from one another at Campidoglio square.
The museums are located only a block away from the monument of Victor Emmanuel meaning there can be many other things to do in the area after you are finished viewing the art. The buildings were built in the 17th century and is reported to be based on drawings made by Michelangelo.
The primary exhibits are sculptures both in bronze and marble. Some of the more famous sculptures are the bronze stature titled She wolf of Rome depicting Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf and Bernini's Medusa.
The building Palazzo dei Conservatori is the larger of the two at three stories with the first two exhibiting sculptures while the third has paintings, medals, jewels and coins on display. The Palazzo Nuovo building also exhibits sculptures but also has a fine collection of mosaics as well.
All museums can be visited without reservations and tickets can be purchased at the door, however there are a couple tour companies that offer a very informative guided tour to several of the museums and if interested in more information about a tour I am partnered with Viator which is the largest tour company in Europe.
Pieta Vatican Museum
Ceiling in Vatican
Statute in Museum
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