Rome is undoubtedly one of the most exotic and iconic places to visit in the world. Its stunning architecture, laid-back vibe, romance in the air, and incredible food among plenty of other things draw innumerable people toward it. But for art lovers and history buffs, Rome means more than all of the above. There are a ton of exquisite palaces and museums in Rome that have been enthralling art lovers and history buffs for ages now. If you happen to be either of the two, then Rome is where you should be headed. Here’s a list of some of the most striking palaces and best museums in Rome you can explore on your trip to this epic place.
Containing some of the world’s greatest artworks and artifacts, the Vatican Museums fill up much of the Vatican Palace. It was started by Pope Julius II in the year 1506 when following the Renaissance lead he began to collect ancient artworks. Over the years, successive Popes began adding to this incredible collection with some additions being specifically made for the Vatican such as Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel and certain rooms painted by the renowned Raphael. This is among the must-visit museums in Rome for any avid art lover.
Famed for being the oldest public art collection in Europe, this was started in the year 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV. The museum is best known for its rich collection of incredible classic sculpture. Among the museum’s most famous collections are the Dying Gaul – a Roman replica of the Victory Monument figure that was erected in the 3rd century BC by Pergamon’s King Attalus, two Hellenistic works – Amor and Psyche and the Drunken Old Woman, as well as Capitoline Venus among scores of others. The often-copied bronze Boy with a Thorn is also found here.
Built in the 2nd century by Emperor Hadrian, it was meant as a mausoleum for himself and his descendants thereof. One of the most imposing buildings, Castel Sant’Angelo is among the most impressive mansions that have survived antiquity. Pope Nicholas III linked this impressive castle with the Vatican in the year 1277 using a covered passage known only as the Passetto. In the course of the next 1500 years, the castle was altered at will by several successive Popes who changed it for defense and display purposes. It continues to be one of the most magnificent palaces to explore in Rome.
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna
The National Gallery of Modern Art is massive and one of the best museums & galleries in Rome. There are about 70 rooms at the museum displaying stunning artworks by Italian painters and sculptors belonging to the 19th and 20th centuries. There are several pieces that highlight the lesser-known but influential artists in addition to the supremely famous ones. Notable Italian artists whose works have been showcased here include Van Gogh, Mondrian, Degas, and Cézanne among others. This is among the best museums in Rome you can visit and spend an entire day exploring its amazing exhibits.
Built in 1613-16 for Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese on the scenic outskirts of Rome, this stunning palace used to once belong to the Borghese family. Today, it’s one of the largest and most popular parks in Rome replete with remarkable gardens, striking pavilions, pristine artificial lakes, and the now combined Pincio Gardens. You can visit the Museo e Galleria Borghese which displays a stunning art and antiquities collection assembled by Cardinal Borghese. You will also find other striking works that were commissioned by him.
This breathtaking palace was begun by Carlo Maderna in the year 1625 with the aid of one of the greatest architects of the Baroque period, Borromini. It was completed in the year 1633 by another legendary architect of the same period, Bernini. A rectangular complex, oval staircases, state apartments, and suites of rooms bear witness of the architectural supremacy of the high Italian Baroque. The main feature of the palace is the two-story Salone consisting of a stunning ceiling painting by Pietro da Cortona, the Triumph of Divine Providence. This is among the most architecturally stunning structures you can explore in Rome.
The Domus Aurea, or Nero’s Golden House, is among the most fascinating places to visit in Rome. The 64AD burning of Rome proved to be beneficial to Nero who planned to create an elaborate new palace meant to be greater than the modern-day Vatican City in the area that the fire cleared. While it was popularly believed that his ambitious project couldn’t be completed, modern excavations have a different story to tell. Finished to a large extent, Nero’s Golden House was uncovered and its features included walls sheathed in fine marble and decorated with gold as well as precious stones, and a vast extent of rooms. This incredible piece of history is a must-visit site when arriving in Rome on cheap flights.
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