Walking through the streets of Rome can feel as if you are exploring a large museum.
The art of ancient Rome surrounds you almost anywhere you go: the enormous Colosseum rises up before you upon exiting the ruins of the Roman Forum and you are instantly transported back in time.
Even with all this history and beauty out among the streets of Rome, there is even more waiting to be discovered inside the fabulous museums of Rome, including the Capitoline and Vatican museums and the Galleria Borghese.
While the amount of artwork housed within these establishments is definitely impressive (as it takes the majority of one day to fully appreciate the mass amount of paintings and sculptures in just one of these museums), these are not the only sources of art and history in the city of Rome.
There are many more museums, big and small, that are often overlooked or forgotten by tourists in their haste to see the most important or more famous works of art.
Nevertheless, they are definitely worth a visit from the lovers of history, art, literature, or the culture of Rome.
1. Centrale Montemartini Museum
This museum is definitely for history lovers as it houses a large collection of antiquities, including statues and mosaics.
What makes this museum so unique from the others in Rome is the building itself.
The Centrale Montemartini Museum is housed inside of a repurposed power plant.
The contrast between the ancient art and the mechanical surroundings creates a captivating atmosphere that enhances the visitor’s experience.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 – 19:00
2. Keats-Shelley House
Throughout history, many have made their way to this city to see its beauty and to be inspired.
Among those people were the Romantic poets, including John Keats.
He came to Rome, lived near the Spanish Steps, and sadly died while he was here.
The apartment where he lived and died has now been transformed into a museum dedicated to him and the Romantic poets.
This small museum is a perfect destination for all lovers of literature as well as anyone looking for an atmospheric glimpse into the past.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 13:00 14:00 – 18:00
3. Stadio di Domiziano
Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric places in Rome.
Surrounded by beautiful art and architecture, it can be easy to forget that Piazza Navona was once a stadium built by the Emperor Domitian.
He built it hoping to increase the interest in sports among his people.
The remains of the ancient stadium have been preserved and are now open to visitors.
After enjoying your time in the piazza, head to this underground museum to learn the history of the area and immerse yourself in the many layers of Rome.
Opening Hours: Sunday – Friday 10:00 – 19:00 Saturday 10:00 – 20:004. Palazzo Altemps
Located just a few steps from Piazza Navona is another one of Rome’s largest collections of antiquities.
Although it is so close to the historic center, the Palazzo Altemps is often overlooked by tourists as they hurry from one place to another. This is definitely a place for art and history lovers.
Another great thing about the Palazzo Altemps is that it is a part of the National Museums of Rome.
With the same ticket (which costs 11 euro) you can visit the Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo, Terme di Diocleziano, and the Crypta Baldi. Each of these places are rich in history and worth a visit, and ticket lasts three days so you have plenty of time to do it!
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 – 19:45
If you are looking to explore some of Rome’s more recent culture, head to the Macro, Rome’s contemporary art museum.
The building itself was once a slaughterhouse that was then transformed into the museum we see today.
It is a remarkable example of industrial architecture which provides a great setting for the contemporary art housed inside.
The museum is located in the neighborhood of Testaccio.
If you are interested in exploring that area, you can read more about what to do and see there in our article Neighborhood Profile: TestaccioOpening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:30 – 19:30