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Best Museums in Rome

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Complesso del Vittoriano

Popular among locals as Il Milite Ignoto 'The Unknown Soldier', Complesso del Vittoriano is a museum that houses the bodies of various soldiers who fought in the World War I. After efforts of more than 20 years put into constructing this monument, it was finally completed in 1911. The architecture and exterior of the museum is of equal importance. The front facade of the museum is embellished with statues representing the various regions of Italy. The fountains of the two seas, greets visitors who enter through the gates. Do pay close attention to the inscriptions on various artifacts.

Rome, Italy
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Wax Museum

Linked to the famed Madame Tussaud's in London, the Museo delle Cere recreates historical scenes such as Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa surrounded by the Medici family and Machiavelli. Another scene shows Mussolini's last Cabinet meeting. There is of course a chamber of horrors with a garrotte, a gas chamber and an electric chair. The museum was built to replicate similar buildings in London and Paris. It is a must visit if one is ever in the city in order to take home some unforgettable memories.

Rome, Italy
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Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are archeological and art museums located in Piazza Campidoglio at the top of Capitoline Hill. Michelangelo redesigned the buildings making generous use of giant order columns, a novelty at the time. The museums are made up of the Palazzo Senatorio, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino, and the Palazzo Nuovo, all linked by an underground gallery beneath the piazza. A massive collection of ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sculptures and artifacts are housed at the museums, in addition to more modern pieces. The 1st Century BCE Greco-Roman sculpture Lo Spinario, in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, is one of the collection's most impressive works.

Rome, Italy
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National Museum of Rome- Crypta Balbi

Lucio Cornelio Balbi was a decorated soldier who worked for both Julius Caesar and Ottavius Augustus. The long wars that he fought in Africa and elsewhere bought him fame and wealth, with which he built a theater in 14 BCE that stretched across the Tiber river. Today the ancient theater houses a part of Museo Nazionale Romano, that tells the events witnessed by the place and the glory of Lucio Cornelio Balbi. The major theme however remains display of the urban landscape from the ancient period to the present day. A lot of excavations were done in the area nearby bring back those bygone days. The excavators have divided their findings by plexiglass, and it displays the artifacts with details on how and where they found them. Although the remains of the theater are few, the major artifacts found here are utensils, pottery, coins and cutlery. An interesting discovery is the work tools and materials from a 7th Century workshop.

Rome, Italy
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Fondazione Museo Roma

Created in 1999, this museum promotes social integration and inclusion. It has two spaces, one for temporary exhibitions and one for concerts, round tables and private events. The museum was initially called the Museo del Corso until it changed to its present name. The museum exhibits artwork ranging all the way from the 16th Century through modern, contemporary art. A variety of traveling exhibits exposes the people to history of other cultures along with the regional stories.

Rome, Italy
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National Museum of Rome- Palazzo Altemps

After 15 years of restoration, the Renaissance Palazzo Altemps has reopened. The lovely Ludovisi collection, at the Museo Nazionale Romano with many figures of mythological heroes can once more be admired. Much of the statuary is Roman but produced in Greek style. Some works are 2000 years old. The Ludovisi throne showing the birth of Venus is the most famous of the statues. The price of the ticket is inclusive of the other three sites of the Museo Nazionale Romano- the Baths of Diocletian, Crypta Balbi and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

Rome, Italy
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Keats-Shelley House

Keats-Shelley House is situated at the foot of Trinità dei Monti, where the English poet, John Keats spent his final days. It was acquired at the beginning of the century and contains memorabilia relating to the young Romantic poet—items such as a lock of hair, manuscripts, Oscar Wilde's autograph, as well as an urn containing remains of the poet Shelley, Keats' friend, who also died at a young age. The collection of volumes on Romanticism in English and Italian is very impressive. A papal order decreed that Keats' furniture should be burned after his death and so the original furnishings no longer remain.

Rome, Italy
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Museo Napoleonico

The collection at Museo Napoleonico was created by Count Primoli, the last descendant of the Primoli family. It includes portraits of Napoleon, and displays some of his personal items, such as the Indian scarf he wore during exile on St Helena. Besides uniforms and family portraits, there are plaster studies by Canova who immortalized Napoleon's sister, Pauline, in the famous statue on display in the Galleria Borghese. This museum includes not only mementos of the general but also objects belonging to his family who lived in Rome - his mother, Letizia, and his sister, Pauline, who married Prince Camillo Borghese.

Rome, Italy
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Villa Farnesina

The Renaissance Villa Farnesina is not very large but is filled with works of art, the most famous being by Raphael. The villa was designed in the early 16th Century by Baldassare Peruzzi for Agostino Chigi, a banker and patron of the arts. One of the rooms in the villa not to be missed is the Galleria or Loggia of Psyche. The style is Raphael's but it was mainly his pupils who worked on it. The Galatea Room is another pearl with a marvelous fresco, by Raphael himself, of the Triumph of Galatea. The Perspective Room (Sala delle Prospettive) by Peruzzi is painted to resemble a loggia from which one gazes out at views of the countryside. On Chigi's death, Raphael's paintings had to be sold as his heirs were unable to keep up the property. All that remains of the master are his frescoes. The property was bought by the Farnese family from whom it takes its present name. The villa is now the home of the Academy of the Lincei and the National Collection of Drawings and Prints.

Rome, Italy
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Museo dell'Ara Pacis

The Ara Pacis Museum is one of the most beautiful museums in Rome, dedicated to the ancient Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace). The altar itself is from the year 9 B.C. The museum was designed by American architect Richard Meier, who created a wonderful space of light and shadow. The central pavilion holds the Ara Pacis, which is illuminated by natural light filtered through 500 square meters of glass.

Rome, Italy
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National Roman Museum

Housed in a Neo-Renaissance palace built at the end of 19th century, the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, you find one of the most important archeological collections in the world. All the sculptures, Roman coins and fragments of mosaics here at Museo Nazionale Romano are described in Italian and English. The four floors of the museum house spectacular statuary like Lancellotti Discobolus and the Maiden of Antium.

Rome, Italy
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National Museum of Rome - Baths of Diocletian

Built at the behest of Emperor Diocletian between 298 CE and 306 CE, the Baths of Diocletian formed the largest public bath complex of the Roman Empire, with a capacity of 3000. The sprawling complex encompassed a gymnasium, library and public baths, with tepid, hot and cold water options. Decorated with sculptures and elaborate stucco work, the baths were once an awe-inspiring sight in both scale and grandeur. The siege of Rome in 537 CE brought with it the end of the Baths of Diocletian when the aqueducts were cut of by King Vitiges. In 1561, much of now ruinous bath complex was lost when Pope Pius IV commissioned Michelangelo to construct the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at the site. Today, the ruins of Hall 10 of the Baths of Diocletian have been revived by the National Museum of Rome, showcasing a once treasured piece of the ancient city of Rome. Tombs, sarcophagi, mosaics and other relics from the baths have been preserved, alongside a reconstitution of the hall and its ruins. The site is surrounded by a 16th Century garden lavishly embellished with historic artwork, adding to the allure of this historic site.

Rome, Italy
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