Rome is not like any other city. It’s a majestic museum, a living room to tiptoe through. Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.
One might say that Rome is a vast open museum under the sky. It attracts all visitors to meander around its streets and discover its local charms, including breathtaking monuments and ancient ruins scattered all around. Yet, the Eternal City has no shortage of museums either.
They are home to invaluable treasures focusing on various aspects of the city’s rich past, ranging from archaeology and history to literature and art. These are the 10 museums to visit in Rome. Actually, among them, you’ll find one which, technically speaking, isn’t located exactly in Rome, yet, at the same time, it sits right at the heart of the city.
Piazza Navona Rome
Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in the centre of Rome. In 86 CE, emperor Domitian commissioned this square with its unique, elongated shape. This shape is the result of its original function as the stadium for athletics competitions (Circus Agonalis) with stands for 20,000 spectators.
Pope Innocent even organised so-called ‘water games’ during the hot summer months, for which the whole square was put under water. After the fall of the Roman Empire, houses were built where the stands used to be, but the long athletics field remained free of buildings and would later become Piazza Navona.
Museums in Rome
- The Vatican Museum
2. The National Gallery of Ancient Art
The National Gallery consists of two branches hosted in the palaces of two old noble families, Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini. Both palaces are home to the impressive art collection of the National Gallery, including famous Italian artists such as Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian and Tintoretto, but also foreign Masters such as Van Dyck, El Greco and Rubens.
3. The Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are the main civic museum of the city of Rome. The historical seat is constituted by the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo. The two buildings are located on the Campidoglio Square remodeled following the design of Michelangelo and are linked by the Galleria Lapidaria, an underground passage that crosses the Campidoglio Square without having to go outside the museums.
4. The Galleria Borghese
The Museum in the beautiful setting of Villa Borghese in Rome preserves sculptures, reliefs and ancient mosaics, and paintings and sculptures from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.
5. The Museum of the Ara Pacis
6. Museum of the Imperial Fora/ Trajan’s Market
The Museum of the Imperial Fora is an ideal complementary experience for those visiting the Roman Forum and wishing to delve into its history and function. It is also an unmissable opportunity to visit Trajan’s Market and stroll through its various levels, which, initially, were home to a covered market, in other words, an ancient mall!
A corner for a romantic moment
Ponte Milvio or the Milvian Bridge
Located in the northern part of Rome is perhaps one of the more significant, yet lesser known (or somewhat overlooked) landmarks of the Roman Empire, Ponte Milvio or the Milvian Bridge. Originally constructed of stone in the 2nd century by Gaius Claudius Nero, a Roman consul, it was the setting of the Battle of Milvian Bridge, fought between Constantine I and Maxitius in the year 312, of which Constantine I was victorious.
The battle is famously depicted in the fresco “The Battle of the Milvian Bridge” (1520-1524) by Italian painter and architect, Giulio Romano. This spectacular piece of art was painted under the guidance of Raphael (until his death in 1520), and is on display in the Vatican Museums.
Located on the opposite bank of the river Tiber, south of the Vatican, is the picturesque neighbourhood Trastevere. The name Trastevere is derived from Latin, trans Tiberium; ‘beyond the Tiber’. This old working-class neighbourhood with its narrow alleyways and medieval houses is a particularly lively affair at night – thanks to the many tourists – with lots of restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias. Visit this truly Italian neighbourhood of Rome for a lovely stroll or relax on one of the many café terraces.
What to see in Trastevere Rome?
The Most Beautiful view…
The Janiculum Hill
Sometimes called the “Balcony of Rome,” the Janiculum Hill offers a stunning panorama over the city. Being situated across the river from Rome’s historic center, the Janiculum doesn’t count among the fabled Seven Hills of Rome. But millennia of activity have left a wealth of historical wonders just waiting for you to explore.
A predominantly residential area, the Aventino is ideal for those looking for peace and quiet with plenty of trees and parks. Situated on one of the seven hills of Rome, it is not far from the historic centre. However the Aventino has very few shops; it is therefore essential to have a car even though it is almost impossible to find parking space.
Located just north of Rome’s historic center and off the main tourist trail, Pinciano is a magnet for wealthy working professionals and has one of the city’s busiest property markets.
Here the streets are wider, the pace of life less hectic and handsome homes and embassies give it a refined feel. Villa Borghese, Rome’s most famous park and the heart of the neighborhood, provides just under 200 acres of green space.
Useful tips and information:
- From Fumianco and Ciampino the airport to the city center train traffic Leonardo Express
- Taxi in Rome
Food and drink in Roma
Rome is a foodies’ paradise with its distinct and proud traditional food culture – but too many options can sometimes be overwhelming. Learn how to choose exactly the right place for those important food experience, to navigate the coffee bars and restaurants, and to avoid tourist traps.
Famous food in Italy…
- Pesto alla Genovese
- Gelato (Ice cream)
- Prosciutto di Parma
Most popular Italian drinks…