Rome Museums

11 museums in Rome worth visiting

In a nutshell: Our tips on Rome's museums

  • Rome is not only home to the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, but also to plenty of museums. Whether you’re an art lover, a history fan or just curious – you’ll find just what you’re looking for.
  • There are two especially fun and interactive museums for children: the Welcome to Rome and the Leonardo da Vinci Experience.
  • A Rome City Pass is a great way to save some money on your city trip, as you’ll get reduced or even free admission to many museums.

If you want to know more about the 11 most exciting museums in Rome, then just keep on reading!

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo fresco in the The Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Italy
The Sistine Chapel is the highlight of the Vatican Museums in Rome (© ilfede)

The Vatican Museums are a must-see in Rome and are one of Rome’s most popular attractions. You’ve probably heard of Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s Rooms – both are highlights of the Vatican museums.

With over 1,300 rooms filled with art and antique ornaments there is infinite artwork to be discovered. So you should plan at least 3 hours for your visit.

The Vatican museums are always busy. We recommend you book a ticket online beforehand. In the article linked below we summarized everything else you should know about a visit to the Vatican Museums.

Get your Vatican Museums tickets

Opening hours

Closed on Sundays

Admission

21 euros

Galleria Borghese

Villa Borghese in Rome
The Galleria Borghese is not only one of the most popular museums in Rome but also a wonderful park

The Galleria Borghese is one of the most important private art collections in Rome. Here you can expect sculptures like Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne and paintings of Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rubens.

The building of the Galleria Borghese alone is well worth seeing. In addition to that, we suggest you take a stroll in the Park Villa Borghese and experience the beautiful gardens.

Note: You need to make an online reservation for the Galleria Borghese. You can’t buy tickets at the Galleria itself. Since it is one of the most popular art museums in Rome, we suggest you book your ticket online at least a week in advance. Your visit is limited to a two-hour time slot, as only 180 visitors are allowed into the exhibition at a time.

To the ticket for the Galleria Borghese

Opening hours

Closed on Mondays

Admission

15 euros

The Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo
A unique feature of the Rome Museums: there is a secret passage to the Vatican in the Castel Sant’Angelo

The Castel Sant’Angelo is a circular fortress on the banks of the Tiber River. Built over 2,000 years ago as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, it eventually became the residence of the popes.

Today, the Castel Sant’Angelo Museum is considered a cool mix of history and art. You can visit the ancient mausoleum, the burial and treasure chambers, the weapons collections, and the prison. There are also numerous works of art, frescoes, and sculptures on display. And you can enjoy a fantastic 360-degree view over ancient Rome on their roof terrace.

What we find particularly exciting is the secret passage to the Vatican, the Passetto di Borgo. You are allowed to visit, but not allowed to pass through it – although it would be pretty cool to get into the Vatican that way.

To the Castel Sant’Angelo Skip-the-Line-Ticket

Admission

14 euros

MAXXI - Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo

MAXXI Museum in Rome
Its unusual building already reveals that MAXXI is a special museum in Rome (© scrisman)

Ancient statues and frescoes may be nice, but maybe you would like to visit an exhibition from this century? Then head to MAXXI!

MAXXI was the first museum in Italy to exhibit contemporary art. We also particularly like the mix of classical art, architecture, and design. There’s everything from light installations to modern sculptures.

And the best part: there’s no trace of the typically stiff museum atmosphere! MAXXI relies on interaction and if you’re lucky you can even watch the artists create art.

The building itself is also worth a visit: MAXXI is one of the most futuristic buildings in Rome that was created from old military barracks. Given the construction costs of around 150 million euros, it is not entirely without controversy though.

Opening hours

Closed on Mondays

Admission

12 euros

The Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums in Rome
Around the Capitoline Square, three buildings form the Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums are also one of the highlights of Rome’s museums. They are located on the Capitol, the smallest hill of Rome, and form the oldest museum in Rome. They were already built in 1471, thanks to a donation made by the Pope. Today, almost six centuries later, they have become one of the largest art collections ever.

The Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the three buildings, is an absolute must-see. Among other things, you will find the statue of the Capitoline she-wolf, which, according to urban legend, suckles the two founding fathers Romulus and Remus. You will also find the remains of the giant statue of Constantine.

The buildings themselves are absolutely impressive. The Capitol Square was in fact designed by none other than Michelangelo himself.

Admission

13 euros

Centrale Montemartini

Sculptures at the Montemartini Museum in Rome
The combination of a steel power plant and beautiful marble sculptures makes the Centrale Montemartini one of the most unusual museums in Rome (© Andrea Izzotti)

Centrale Montemartini is truly unique among Rome’s museums. During renovations of the Capitoline Museums in the 1990s, parts of the exhibition were moved to the abandoned electric power station in Ostiense.

Ancient sculptures in the midst of diesel engines? The combination of modern industrial charm and archaeological finds turned out to be so popular that a permanent exhibition was created.

Fact is: if you’re not into dull art museums, then the Centrale Montemartini will definitely surprise you for the better.

Combined ticket: Capitoline Museums and Centrale Montemartini

Opening hours

Closed on Mondays

Admission

10 euros

Welcome to Rome

Welcome to Rome Experience
In this interactive museum you learn a lot about the history of Rome – interested in a 3D projection lesson? (© Welcome to Rome)

At Welcome to Rome you can experience the history of the city in a truly extraordinary way. The whole thing is a kind of multimedia time travel that takes you 2,700 years into the past.

For this you will be guided through a huge 3D projection of Rome for 30 minutes, accompanied by an audio commentary that tells you about the battles, fires and emperors. After that, there are four interactive models of the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Augustus Forum.

If you’re traveling with kids in Rome who aren’t that into statues and paintings, we highly recommend Welcome to Rome.

Ticket for Welcome to Rome

Admission

15.50 euros

Museo Nazionale Romano

The Museo Nazionale Romano in Palazzo Altemps
The Palazzo Altemps location of the Museo Nazionale Romano displays art from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures

The National Museum of Rome houses around 300,000 exhibits. There is hardly any other museum in Rome where you can learn as much about art and history. Important to know: the museum is spread over four locations.

Your ticket is valid for one week, so you can visit all the museums at your leisure.

  • Palazzo Altemps: a magnificent palace with a beautiful courtyard and frescoes. You will see works of art from the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures.
  • Diocletian’s Baths: were once the largest and most beautiful baths in Rome and an important place for social gatherings. The grounds are great for exploring on a hot day as there is plenty of shade.
  • Balbi Crypt: once served as a lounge during theatrical performances. Today it houses an exhibition about the city’s development from ancient to modern times.
  • Palazzo Massimo: the Renaissance palace is almost more impressive than the exhibition itself. The antique art collection is among the most important in the world.
Opening hours

Closed on Mondays

Admission

12 euros

Leonardo da Vinci Experience

Entrance of the Leonardo da Vinci Experience in Rome
Inventions you can touch at the Leonardo da Vinci Experience in Rome (© TKKurikawa)

Leonardo da Vinci was a genius of his time and gifted in just about every discipline of the arts and sciences.

The Leonardo da Vinci Experience features 50 of his coolest inventions. Fun fact: touching them is allowed! There’s even the first ever design of a helicopter. We especially like the Mirror Cabinet because da Vinci’s experiments with light also played a role in photography.

Here you can also find da Vinci’s most important works of art such as The Last Supper. These are only replicas though, so the machines are our highlight of the museum.

Our verdict: it’s an exciting museum if you are traveling with children or if it’s just for your inner child.

Ticket for the Leonardo da Vinci Experience

Admission

12 euros

Galleria Spada

Portico of the Galleria Spada in Rome
The portico in the Galleria Spada is a masterpiece and seems endless despite its short length

Galleria Spada is a collection of artworks from the 16th and 17th centuries. It includes some of the greatest artists like Caravaggio, Titian and Dürer.

With only three rooms, the museum is still considered an insider tip among Rome’s museums. It’s perfect if you want to enjoy some art but find the size and crowds at the Vatican Museums too overwhelming.

The masterpiece here, however, is not a painting, but the portico in the courtyard. An optical illusion by the architect Borromini makes the corridor, which is just nine meters long, seem almost infinite.

Ticket for Galleria Spada

Opening hours

Closed on Tuesdays

Admission

5 euros

The stadium of Domitian

Underground Stadium of Domitian in Rome
The stadium of Domitian is well hidden under the Piazza Navona (© Area Archeologica – Stadio di Domiziano)

Piazza Navona is one of the most popular squares in Rome – many exciting tours of Rome start here. But what only few people know: about four meters underground are the remains of the ancient athletics stadium of Emperor Domitian. Where boutiques and ice cream parlors line up today, some 30,000 spectators cheered on the athletes.

Videos and 3D reconstructions give you a good idea of the ancient stadium.

Admittedly, Domitian’s stadium can’t compete with the Colosseum and its gladiator fights. But at least it’s not as overrun by tourist crowds, and in our opinion it’s a cool Rome insider tip! Because it’s located underground, it is also ideal for rainy days.

Guided underground tour with the stadium of Domitian

Admission

8.50 euros

Extra tip: Save money with a Rome Pass

Hand holding best city passes for Rome

There are special City Passes for tourists in Rome that offer reduced or even free admission to many attractions. Among them are many of the museums from our list, such as the Vatican Museums or Castel Sant’Angelo.

In a city like Rome, where you do a lot of sightseeing, a City Pass will always be worthwhile.

However, there are many different kinds for Rome, and we don’t want to recommend just any one. After all, choosing the right City Pass depends on what you have planned. Just check out the article linked below to find out which City Pass suits you best.

Do you know of any more cool museums in Rome?

These were our tips for the 11 most amazing museums in Rome. Have you ever been to Rome and discovered a really great museum? Tell us more about it in the comments, we would love to hear from you!