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Best Local History & Culture 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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Museo Tipologico Internazionale del Presepio "Angelo Stefanucci"

One of Italy's Christmas traditions; reproductions of the Holy Manger, is the basis of this collection. It contains not just Italian-made models, but examples from all over the world-from Kenya, Latin America, Ukraine and elsewhere. The figures are made from wood, terracotta, glass, papier-mâché and even coal. The museum was founded in 1967 and each year around October it arranges free courses on the techniques used in making these reproductions. The exhibition also includes collections of stamps, coins and medals on the same theme. Admission: Free.

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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Museo Ebraico di Roma

Housed in the Great Synagogue of Rome, Museo Ebraico di Roma was established in 1959 as a means of preserving and celebrating the Jewish presence in the Eternal City. The museum is packed with artifacts that are of great importance, not only to Rome's Jewish community, but to any lover of art and history. La Galleria dei Marmi Antichi is an outdoor collection of marbles from the Jewish ghetto, and the museum is filled with such fascinating collections. You will be sure to find some interesting souvenirs from the museum's shop.

Rome, Italy
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Galleria Spada

Galleria Spada is situated in one of the most beautiful palaces in Rome-Palazzo Spada. This gallery contains a splendid collection of Old Masters, including Caravaggio, Guercino, Brueghel the Elder, and Domenichino. Although the gallery contains many beautiful works of art, the principal attraction remains Barromini's false perspective, wherein you are tricked into believing that a particular gallery is much longer than it truly is. Discounted rates are only applicable to European Union citizens.

Rome, Italy
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Palatine Museum

Palatine Hill, which is one of the Seven Hills of the Eternal City, is an area of great historical interest. The Palatine Museum, or Museo Palatino as it is locally known, is a wonderful place to visit for those interested in this archaeological site. The museum is a storehouse of all kinds of artifacts dating back to when Palatine Hill was home to some of Ancient Rome's most affluent citizens. There are some majestic sculptures to be found, and if you're a smooth talker, you could even manage to convince the custodian to let you visit some of the historic villas nearby.

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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Giorgio de Chirico House Museum

Housed in a building that dates back to the 17th Century, this museum gives you a glimpse into the life of Giorgio de Chirico, an Italian artist who was a source of inspiration for the surrealists. The house, which he took possession of in 1948, is the one he lived in for 30 years; after his death in 1998, his wife, Isabella Pakszwer Far bequeathed it to the state. At his residence, which is in the center of Rome, Chirico sincerely believed himself to be living in the center of the entire world. A part of Casa Museo Giorgio de Chirico houses the artist's personal collection of paintings, portraits and sculptures. The second floor is where his personal belongings and way of life have been preserved. The terrace on the third floor offers some amazing views of the city. Visits can be arranged only by appointment.

Rome, Italy
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Casa Museo Mario Praz

Located on the third floor of Palazzo Primoli, the building which is also home to Museo Napoleonico, this museum lets you into the home of the late Italian art critic and scholar, Mario Praz. Once inside Casa Museo Mario Praz, it is hard to believe that Praz passed away in 1982; the preservation of his belongings is so thorough. Throughout his life, he collected unique pieces of art and furniture, and his abode gives you a chance to admire them, as well as giving you a sneak peek into his book collection.

Rome, Italy
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National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo

The splendid fortress of Castel Sant'Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in 139 CE. In the 10th Century CE, it was transformed into a castle, then, 500 years later, into the elegant residence of Pope Alexander VI Borgia. Michelangelo designed the marvelous main court for Pope Leo X and many of the rooms inside are decorated with frescoes of great beauty. It is also been used to house prisoners, including the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini. The terrace offers a fine view of the river Tiber and opera lovers will know that this was where the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Tosca (1900) took place. The building is now a museum with a fine collection of suits of armor which is open to the public.

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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Museo Storico della Liberazione di Roma

The inside of the palazzo in Via Tasso is for many a painful memory but an irrefutable part of Italy's history. This is where prisoners of the Nazi regime were brought for interrogation during the occupation. The museum commemorates the heroes of the Resistance and the many ostracized groups including the Jews. Photographs and biographies of many were brought to this place and some of the cells have been left in their original state with goodbye messages scrawled to their loved ones. Admission: Free.

Rome, Italy
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