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7 Cool Museums in Rome 

by ElenaSergeeva

Rome is a fantastic tourist destination – it has a colorful lineup of attractions that will get your tourist juices flowing. If you fancy the opportunity to try some of the cool museums in Rome, you’ll discover a magical palette of exciting and varied museums. 

While a long time ago, museums might have given you a rash out of sheer boredom, today’s museums have undergone a total transformation. Museums are fabulous, immersive enticing experiences – you can even take the kids along!

We’re going to suggest a few that will take your sightseeing experience to a new level. 

Check out our post on 4 Days in Rome

7 Cool Museums in Rome to add to your travel itinerary

Concezione dei Cappuccini

If you relish something a bit bizarre, you’re going to love the church of Santa Maria Della Concezione dei Cappuccini. It is also referred to as Our Lady of the Conception. Yes, there are many churches in Rome, but this one, found in the famous Via Veneto, is certainly worth your time. 

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome

The church was built by Pope Urban VIII, in honor of his brother Antonio Barberini who was part of the Capuchin order. The tomb of the brother is preserved in the church. We said a visit here is for those who appreciate something on the weird, macabre side, and the Santa Maria Della Concezione dei Cappuccini certainly hides a dark side. 

There are 5 chapels in the crypt and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of bones of monks or friars that embellish the chapels. In the last chapel you will find a message for you as a visitor: “Exactly what you are now, we once were; what we are now, you will end up being.”  

The museum offers fascinating facts about the Capuchins and it then leads into the crypts. There is an excellent audio guide, and apart from the artwork of human bones, the descriptions are very informative. There is also quite a bit of artwork in the museum. You’ll probably need about an hour to visit this intriguing place. 

Opening times:

Mon – Fri m-9:00 am – 17:00 pm

Admission fees:

  • Adults – €8.50 
  • Under 18 –  €5 
  • Over 65 – €5 
  • Fees provide entry to the museum and the crypt. 
  • No concessions for students. No Roma Pass. 

If you wish to skip the lines, we recommend pre-booking a guided tour online here.

The Casina delle Civette (House of the Owls)

Designed in 1840 by Giuseppe Jappelli, this museum is an architectural gem and one of the cool museums in Rome that warrant a visit. 

It used to be the home of Prince Giovanni Torlonia but it underwent significant changes and you’ll find lovely stained glass, mosaics, colored tiles, and turrets of various sizes. In fact, this beautiful fairytale-looking place has stained glass windows in all the rooms depicting flowers and owls. It is decorated in the Art Nouveau style. 

Information is in English and Italian and there are areas for picnicking on the villa’s grounds. When you look at the architecture, it’s a merry mix of Swiss cottage, farmhouse, and castle all blended into one. 

In 1916 it became known as the House of Owls and the nocturnal bird of prey’s symbol is seen in the buildings and in the furniture.  

A fire in 1991 ruined the House of the Owls. After the devastating fire and vandalism, the long road of restoration started  Its current look is because of the excellent restoration work performed from 1992 to 1997.

Opening hours:

Monday – closed

Tuesday to Sunday – 9.00 am to 19.00 pm

24 and 31 December – 9.00 am – 2.00 pm

Closed on 25 December, 1 January, and 1 May

Admission fees:

  • Adults – €6.00
  • Reduced – €5.00
  • Roman Citizen – €5.00
  • Roman Citizen (Reduced) – €4.00

Recommended tour: Art Nouveau Rome: Villa Torlonia & Coppedé Private Tour

MAXXI  – One of the Cool Museums in Rome

In Rome, you have to appreciate the old, but the beautiful modern MAXXI building is packed full of creativity. You may be wondering what MAXXI stands for. It means National Museum of 21st Century Arts. It’s the first modern national art museum in Rome.  

Zaha Hadid Architects designed the building in 2009, with its construction lasting 7 years. Within this amazing project, you’ll find a couple of libraries, 2 museums, an auditorium, laboratories, a bookstore, as well as entertainment areas indoors and out. 

Even the lighting and hanging steel museum stairs are works of art. The black stairway is a striking architectural component of the museum and it blends in perfectly with the modernness of the place.

MAXXI also dedicates galleries to permanent displays of its own collections. There are amazing works of art to be seen and because of suspended panels, the public is able to enjoy the work through 360° in a  participatory experience. 

The  MAXXI Collection is also virtual. Allowing visitors to enjoy a wonderfully immersive experience through 3D viewers. 

Opening times:

Monday – closed

Tuesday to Friday 11 am – 7 pm 

Saturday and Sunday – 11 am – 8 pm

Admission fees:

  • Children – 0 to 13 – free
  • Young People 14 – 25 – €9.00
  • Reduced – €9.00
  • Family – €9.00
  • Regular rate – €12.00

If you plan on visiting many archaeological sites and museum, we recommend getting the Roma Pass.

Museum Centrale Montemartini

Located on Via Ostiense in Rome, Centrale Montemartini houses about 400 Roman statues and tomb inscriptions. The museum is interestingly set in the oldest power plant in Rome and features fascinating Roman and Greek statues. This means that artworks are combined with industrial machinery.

There is even steam turbine and diesel engines that can be seen. The antique exhibits date way back to the 4th century B.C. The exhibits come from excavations of the last 100 – 150 years.

Centrale Montemartini was chosen to house part of the collection of the Capitoline Museums. The temporary exhibition known as ‘Machines and Gods’ was a huge success, so much so that it became a permanent exhibition.  

Highlights in the museum include detailed mosaics depicting different themes. Sometimes there are jazz concerts and other musical events among all the statues, creating a unique experience.

Opening times:

Monday – closed.

Tuesday to Sunday – 9.00 to 19.00.

24 and 31 December – 9.00 to 14.00 pm.

Admission fees:

  • Adult –  €7.50
  • Reduced –  €6.50
  • Reduced admission for  young people aged 6 to 25 
  • Free admission for children up to 6 years.
  • Free admission for those with disabilities.

Recommended combined tour Capitoline Museums + Centrale Montemartini Option

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery in Rome and stunningly beautiful. The 17th-century villa houses an amazing collection of sculptures, antiquities, and art. The gallery has a number of well-known works, more so from the Renaissance. 

You’ll see paintings by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Rubens and statues by Bernini.  In 1613, the Galleria structure was commissioned by Cardinal Borghese to display his fabulous art collection. Guided tours of the building are available. 

The Galleria Borghese isn’t only about art. The 18th-century temple, Tempio di Esculapio, is dedicated to the god of medicine and is found in the lake of the park. You can rent small boats.

The property also has magnificent landscaped gardens. The public park and the gardens are free to wander. Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned the vineyard to be converted into a park and there is also an aviary and orangery. There are also beautiful ponds and fountains. Today it’s the largest park in Rome. 

Opening hours:

Mondays – closed

Tuesday to Sunday – 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. 

Thursday evening until 9.00 pm.

The gallery is closed on December 25 and 1st January.

Admission fees:

  • Costs differ according to whether you buy tickets online or in person. 
  • Adults – €13 
  • EU youths 18 to 25 – €2 
  • Free for visitors under 18. 
  • Adults can get discounted €8 tickets for the last entry of the day. Entry is free on the first Sunday of the month.
  • Visitors with disabilities and a companion can enter free of charge.

Check out the Borghese Gallery Masterpieces & Gardens: Skip-the-Line Tour
Also you might enjoy the Borghese Gallery Guided tour

Vatican Musem 

The world has some seriously amazing attractions and the Vatican Museum is an extraordinary attraction in Rome. With more than 6 million visitors thronging to take a look each year, there must be something highly attractive about the Vatican Museum that you need to see.

Vatican is one of the cool museums in Rome

It is situated in Vatican City, north of the city center of Rome. There are several museums, among them being the Pio-Clementino  Museum which holds the most important Greek works in the Vatican. 

Another is the Gallery of the Chandeliers where you’ll find huge chandeliers from the second century A.D.  There is also the Gallery of Tapestries and the Historical Museum – Carriage Pavilion where you’ll find saddles, cars, and coaches, and also the Vatican’s first locomotive. There are also other fascinating museums. 

The Vatican Museum was established by Pope Julius II during the 16th century, and thousands of works are found in its interiors. The origins of the museums go back to 1503 when Pope Julius II donated his private collection. The Museum’s entrance is an arched doorway. Above the doorway are sculptured figures. 

There are several miles of art galleries to explore and most people prefer the museum by booking a tour. An expert makes things more intriguing by providing fascinating bits of information on the  Vatican’s illustrious history and culture. Sometimes these tours can even include a visit to the Sistine Chapel.

Opening times:

Monday to Saturday – 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

Every last Sunday of the month – 9.00 am to 2.00 pm.

Admission fees: 

  • Adult ticket – €22
  • Kids ticket – 6 to 17 years -€14
  • Student ticket – €14
  • Kids below 6 years of age – free
  • For €5.40 per person, you can book an audio guide

It is advised to book your Vatican museum tickets online.
Check out our review of the Vatican Small Group Tour

Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna

The art gallery – Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna – was founded in 1883. Inside the handicap-accessible museum, you’ll find a collection of paintings and sculptures by renowned artists such as van Gogh, Monet, and Rodin among others. 

You can give yourself about an hour to walk through the gallery although it’s so wonderfully peaceful, you’ll want to stay longer. You can break your culture trip by enjoying a cuppa coffee at the Art Nouveau Caffè delle Arti. 

The Gallery houses an excellent collection of Italian and foreign art from the 19th century right up to modern times. There are more than a thousand paintings and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries, making it the largest collection in Italy. 

Apart from the masterpieces on permanent display, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibition has some masterpieces well worth seeing.

Opening hours:

Monday – closed

Tuesday to Sunday – 8.30 am to 19.30 pm

Closed on January 1st and December 25th.

Admission fees:

  • 10 Euros.
  • EU citizens aged 18-25 -5 Euros.
  • Any nationality age 0-18 – free entry.
  • From October to March admission is free on the first Sunday of the month.

Conclusion:

It’s tempting to go with the usual touristy things to do in Rome, but if you’re looking for something different and jolly interesting at the same time, there are many excellent museums. It can be difficult to know which are the best museums in Rome, particularly if you’re traveling with kids, but a sure bet is these cool museums in Rome. 

These museums are utterly Italian and apart from all the art, there are other activities in the museums that are wondrously fun and interactive. Be warned! If you visit the best of Rome’s museums, they may encourage you to put museums on your list of things to do on your future travel itineraries simply because of the good vibes they’ve provided for you in Rome.

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