Primarily an artistic and archaeological museum, this place is a wonder in itself. The great Italian artist Michelangelo himself designed the whole Capitoline Museum complex, from its three Palazzos (though the Palazzo Senatorio was built in the 12th Century, it was modified later to fit Michelangelo’s vision) to the Piazza del Campidoglio, which brings it all together.
National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo
The Castel Sant’Angelo has been many things including the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum, a castle, and the highest stseucture in the city. It now boasts some of the best sights in the city, from the beautiful artistic exhibitions on the inside, to the view of Rome and Vatican City – especially St Peter’s Basilica – from the top.
The Vatican Museums
The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, decorated with Michelangelo’s seminal masterpiece, is worth a visit just by itself. However, this is not the only attraction – the rest of the museums are also breathtakingly beautiful and replete with important works of art.
Museo Nazionale dell’Alto Medioevo
Though somewhat off the beaten track, a look in this museum shines some light on the Dark Ages and show us that there was some glamour to it all, from jewellery, to rich tapestry, to gleaming weaponry. The coloured marble inlays of an Ostian aristocratic villa hall – laid using opus sectile, which is similar to mosaic techniques – brought here in its entirety is quite a spectacle.
Auditorium Parco della Musica
Out of all the buildings and places to visit in Rome, this cultural centre is likely to be one of the most modern. Designed by Renzo Piano, it boasts three concert halls – the largest of which can hold close to 3,000 people – as well as an exhibition space, an open-air theatre, and art gallery and an archaeological museum.
Once a Renaissance palace, the Palazzo Altemps has only been a museum for 17 years, and is entirely devoted to the art of sculpture, housing three Ludovisi sculptures: the Ares, the Gaul, and the Battle Sarcophagus from Porta Tiburtina made in the third century.
A 17th century villa absolutely packed full of important works of art including pieces by Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio, this museum is relatively small, but charming. Don’t miss the Villa Borghese gardens, which were inspired by British landscape gardens.
National Etruscan Museum
As their ancestors, the Etruscans’ influence to the Romans cannot be understated, and yet Etruscan history is shrouded in mystery. This museum, set in a 1500s villa, helps to document some of the unearthed treasures from that culture with sculptures, jewellery and sarcophagi.
The Maxxi, or the National Museum of Art from the 21st century, found in the north of the city, is the place to be for lovers of modern art. With a huge, labyrinthine interior structure and some highly influential contemporary exhibits, it appeals to travellers who want to see some of the edgier museums in Rome.
Museo di Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
Listed as one of the top 3 quiet museums in Rome by the New York Times in 2013, this museum is rather special in its approach; here, art can be appreciated in an old-fashioned way, meaning a more extravagant and lavish festival of works mixed with exhuberant surroundings, rather than the more clinical and sparse approach that has now gained favour. A real treat.
(Photo by Moyan_Brenn via Flickr)