Museums Walk, Rome

As an ancient and cultural city, Rome is packed with museums which demonstrate its value in the world of culture and civilization. When it comes to art, Rome contains the most significant artifacts in the world, including sculptures, paintings, pottery, and porcelain; all hidden within the splendid palaces of the city. Take the following tour to better acquaint yourself with the splendors of Rome.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: Museums Walk
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Author: audrey
Capitoline Museums: Palazzo dei Conservatori / Palazzo Nuovo

1) Capitoline Museums: Palazzo dei Conservatori / Palazzo Nuovo (must see)

Taken together, the Musei Capitolini make the main museum of the city of Rome and can be defined as the oldest public museum in the world. The historic seats of the museums are Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, facing on the highly photogenic Piazza del Campidoglio that was designed by Michelangelo. The history of these museums can be traced to 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV gifted a precious collection of ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on top of the Capitoline Hill. Since then, the museums' collection has grown to include a large number of ancient Roman statues and artifacts; a collection of medieval and Renaissance art; as well as huge collections of coins, jewels, and other items. You need a lot of time to see them all.

The piazza outside contains a copy of the only remaining ancient Roman bronze statue. The original, a statue of Marcus Aurelius as a mounted rider is inside the museum. Many Roman statues were destroyed on the orders of Christian Church authorities in the Middle Ages; this statue, however, was preserved in the erroneous belief that it depicted Emperor Constantine, who made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire.

Please note that to enter Palazzo Nuovo, you must first purchase a combined museum ticket at the Palazzo dei Conservatori booth and enter the museum from there. After exploring that side of the museum, you can access Palazzo Nuovo via an underground tunnel. You can't enter the Palazzo Nuovo facilities directly from Piazza del Campidoglio.

Why You Should Visit:
These museums hold a large number of the most historically precious sculptures in all of Rome: The Dying Gaul; Boy with Thorn, She-Wolf with Romulus and Remus. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Walk up to the roof-top cafeteria, Caffetteria Italia, for some excellent espresso and fantastic city views.
Most important on a summer day: there is air conditioning throughout.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-7:30pm; Dec 24/31: 9:30am-2pm
Last admission 1 hour before closing time
Sight description based on wikipedia
Crypta Balbi

2) Crypta Balbi (must see)

Perhaps most intriguing of all branches of the National Museum of Rome, the Crypta Balbi stands on the remains of the 13th-century Theater of Balbus. During excavations in 1981, the remains of the ancient theater and artifacts from the medieval occupation of the city were uncovered and are now housed in the museum in the Archaeology Section. In the basement, you will find the remains of the theater, including parts of the columns of the quadriporticus and objects from a nearby statio annonae (a depot where grain from the farm areas was stocked in ancient times).

In the Historical Section are several images that show how Rome looked, from its beginnings to the 20th century. These pictures are accompanied by interesting items from each epoque including pottery, fragments of glass objects, seals, ivory and bone. There is also a collection of coins and precious stones that indicate that the area was heavily commercial. As well as frescoes from the Middle Ages, you will find the fascinating fragments from the “Forma Urbis Romae”, which was once an enormous marble slab depicting a map of Rome under the 3rd century Emperor Septimus Severus. The map was a guide to visitors to the city.

The museum's layout is somewhat confusing, but keep wandering from the basement and the earliest ruins up to the frescoes and 3D reproductions of what buildings in each of the ages looked like. It is worth the effort, especially if you like archaeology.

Why You Should Visit:
An extremely interesting site for the story of the stratification of the city it tells.
You can see all of the layers of Rome's development history in cross-section.
An excellent relaxing way to get one's mind around life in ancient Rome.

Purchasing one ticket (valid for 3 days) you gain entry into all other National Museums locations: Palazzo Massimo, Baths of Diocletian, and Palazzo Altemps.
A visit here is only worthwhile if you go on the visits to the subterranean areas and Exedra. These leave hourly: one on the hour, the other on the :45.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo Barracco (Barracco Museum)

3) Museo Barracco (Barracco Museum)

Rome is full of interesting museums and often the smaller ones are overlooked because a lot of people think they can’t be very interesting because they are small. This is a great shame because the Barracco Museum well worth visiting in spite of its size. The museum is housed in Farnesina Palace and displays an exquisite collection of over 400 ancient statues, busts and artwork from Assyria, Cypress, Egypt, Etruria, Greece, Phoenicia and Rome. The collection was amassed by Giovanni Barracco, a rich statesman, and donated to the City of Rome in 1904. Barracco was an avid collector and either bought the items you will see on display or recovered them from archaeological digs around the city.

Included in the exhibition is a bust, found in Egypt, of a Roman wearing a diadem and thought to represent Julius Caesar. You will also see Egyptian alabaster funeral urns, which once held the internal organs of the dead. Another Egyptian statue, this time discovered during excavations in Rome, is a 1st century statue of the god Bes, who protected mothers and children. There is a wonderful display of tablets of cuneiform writing dating back to 3000BC, from Mesopotamia, an original 1st century piece of mosaic using tesserae and depicting two pigeons and a 12th century mosaic from the original St Peter’s Basilica. In the Greek section of the museum, you will find funerary and votive slabs, as well as artifacts and works from Polyclitus, the great artist who lived in the 5th BC.

Operation hours: October to May: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; June to September: Tuesday - Sunday: 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo di Roma (Rome City Museum)

4) Museo di Roma (Rome City Museum)

The Museo di Roma is situated in the Palazzo Braschi on Piazza San Pantaleo, so when you visit this museum, you will get a double treat – that of admiring the exhibitions of this civic museum and seeing the splendors of the beautiful palace that houses them. The museum displays various exhibitions about the cultural and social Roman way of life from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century. The collection is detailed and offers over 100,000 objects that include ceramics, clothes, drawings, engravings, furniture paintings and photos.

You will also find pieces of architecture and murals saved from churches and other buildings, such as the medieval frescoes from the Church of S. Maria in Vincis and 3 fragments of 13th century mosaic from the apse vault of St Peter’s Basilica. There are over 2000 examples of intact pottery and fragments of a 10th century collection of pitchers with a bas-relief in brown glaze. Another fine collection of pottery clearly shows the Arabic influence in Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries. Other pottery from the 17th and 18th centuries bears the coats of arms of various popes. In another section of the museum you will find over 250 examples of 18th and 19th century clothes, and also tapestries and ceremonial cloths used in religious rites. The ground floor is devoted to carriages and sedan chairs, and here you will find the sedan chair in red morocco and gold belonging to the Braschi family. There are also over 600 items of fine furniture on display.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Palazzo Altemps

5) Palazzo Altemps (must see)

The National Museum of Rome is housed in several buildings in the city, one of which is the Palazzo Altemps, which you will find on the Piazza Saint Apollinaire.

The palace was built on the site of an ancient marble warehouse not far from the Temple of Apollo. During the Dark Ages, the warehouse became part of the fortifications of two rival families. The construction of the palace began in 1477 and in 1511 the Cardinal di Volterra Francesco Soderini bought it and enlarged it. It was sold to Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps in 1568 and he used it mainly to house his wonderful collection of books and sculptures.

Today in the museum you will find a collection of Ancient Roman sculptures from Ludovisi and many items from Egypt. To add to the interest of the museum, there are “before and after” photos showing where the statues had been broken and later restored.

In one room there is a wonderful fountain made of a mosaic of seashells, with the Altemps Coat of Arms, made of sand and limestone. In the Hall of Portraits there is an impressive collection of busts of Roman Emperors. In the Hall of the Tower you will see relics from the ancient buildings that stood on this site before the palace. The South Loggia has a bas-relief on one wall dating back to the 2nd century AD, depicting gods and goddesses on Mount Olympia. A room dedicated to Moses holds a fresco of scenes from the important moments in his life.

Why You Should Visit:
A quiet and relaxing place torn between Renaissance architecture and ancient sculpture.
Not-to-be-missed are the hundred-or-so busts, bas-reliefs, and frescoed loggias.
There's also a fascinating area where you can look down into the well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman house excavated on the site.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7:45pm, closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Keats-Shelley Memorial House

6) Keats-Shelley Memorial House

The Keats-Shelley Memorial House is a museum in Rome, Italy, commemorating the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The museum houses one of the world's most extensive collections of memorabilia, letters, manuscripts, and paintings relating to Keats and Shelley, as well as Byron, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Oscar Wilde, and others. It is located on the second floor of the building situated just to the south of the base of the Spanish Steps and east of the Piazza di Spagna. The house was bought in 1906 by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association. During the Second World War the collection was dismantled and hidden to keep it safe from the Nazis, and was returned to the house at the end of the war.

The poet John Keats lived in the house for several months and died here in 1821. According to the law of that time, because he died of tuberculosis, the house walls were scrubbed and scraped and all its contents were burned. The items on display belonging to Keats were donated by the Association. Percy Bysshe Shelley was a friend of Keats, but he never set foot in this house. At the time of Keats’ death, Shelley was living in Pisa, with his wife Mary (the author of Frankenstein). On hearing of Keats’ death, Shelley composed his famous elegy “Adonais” and dedicated it to his friend. Shelley died a few years later; he was drowned while sailing to Lerici in northern Italy and his boat sank during a storm. His body was washed up several days later and according to quarantine laws, he was cremated on the beach. Many people believe that he was murdered for his political beliefs.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Giorgio De Chirico House Museum

7) Giorgio De Chirico House Museum

Visiting house museums is always a must if you want to find out how a famous person lived and the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum won’t disappoint you. The great artist bought an apartment in the Borgognoni Palace and you can visit the entrance hall, the dining room, bedrooms and studio where he lived and worked from 1948 until his death in 1978. On an easel in the studio is his last, unfinished sketch of a bathing woman. You can also see his book collection and his paints and brushes. In the halls on the 4th floor you will find paintings which include “Il Mediatore”, “Donna in Riposo”, “Le Maschere” and “Bagnanti”. There are also sculptures and graphics from his personal collection.

Giorgio de Chirico was perhaps the greatest Pre-Surrealist and Surrealist artist in Italy, his work is on a par with Salvatore Dali, but his best works were executed between 1909 and 1919 during his Metaphysical Period, during which time he founded the Metaphysical School of art movement. Just as his beloved Gala was Dali’s muse, so his wife Isabella was De Chirico’s and there are several portraits of her and she figures in many of his paintings. In 1939 he adopted Rubens’ Baroque style of art and these works were criticized as not being as good as his early work. So to revenge himself on those he called “ignorant critics” he back-dated some of his paintings, which were then accepted with acclaim.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Saturday and first Sunday of the month: by appointment 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (Palazzo Barberini)

8) Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (Palazzo Barberini)

The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, or National Gallery of Ancient Art, is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, located on two sites: the Palazzo Barberini and the Palazzo Corsini. The Palazzo Barberini was designed for Pope Urban VIII, a member of the Barberini family, by Italian architect Carlo Maderno (1556–1629) on the old location of Villa Sforza. Its central salon ceiling was decorated by Pietro da Cortona with the visual panegyric of the Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power to glorify the papal Barberini family. The eight rooms of the gallery exhibit works by Raphael and Raffaelleschi, Florentine, Sienese, Leonardeschi and Venetian painters, and has a portraits room as well.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Roman Museum (Museo Nazionale Romano)

9) National Roman Museum (Museo Nazionale Romano) (must see)

The National Roman Museum is a vast complex spread out over four buildings and it’s worth taking a packed lunch to avoid missing any part of this fabulous museum. The museum comprises four parts; the first to be found in a 16th-century cloister built by Michelangelo at the site of the Baths of Diocletian which were created in 298AD. This is the main base of the museum where you will see funerary slabs, altars and a section dedicated to Prehistory. Relics of the baths can be seen in the museum’s gardens. The main halls of the baths have been preserved and are used for temporary exhibitions.

The museum opened in 1890 and the cloister and Bath areas were re-adapted and enlarged at the beginning of 1911 for the International Exhibition of Art, the work terminating in the nineteen thirties. Two other buildings connected to the museum are the Crypta Balbi and the Palazzo Altemps. Another section of the museum is to be found at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, built as a Jesuit seminary in 1887 on the site of a villa that once belonged to Pope Sixtus V. This part of the museum displays iconographic artifacts from the Flavian Age to the end of the late Empire, and 1st century BC frescoes salvaged from imperial villas. There are two fine copies of “The Discus Thrower” by Myron. There is a mummy in its sarcophagus with jewelry items, found in 1964 on via Cassia. There is also an important coin and jewelry collection and many statues.

Why You Should Visit:
Quality museum having a superb collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, second only to the Vatican.
Easily accessible via public transit, not crowded whatsoever, and reasonably priced (get the 5 museum ticket for a few euros more and it becomes seriously worth it).

Give it 2-3 hours as there are 3 floors: basement, 1st and 2nd.

Operation Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized by narrow, cobbled streets and medieval buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

The glory of Ancient Rome is known throughout the entire world and each year millions of tourists travel to Rome to visit its ancient sites. Rome's historic center is packed with so many landmarks and works of art, that it would take days to see it all. The following tour offers you a walk by the most remarkable, must see sites in Rome's ancient center.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Vatican Walking Tour

Vatican Walking Tour

Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state consisting of an enclave within the city of Rome, it is the smallest recognized independent state in the world. The Vatican is one of the most sacred places in Christendom, it attests to a great history and a formidable spiritual venture. Although only 44 hectares in overall surface, the Vatican features several worthwhile places to see, such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Rome's glory didn't end with the fall of the Roman empire, it continued as a melting point of culture and creativity for centuries. Today, the city is a fabulous architectural patchwork, a living masterpiece, and a true tribute to its history. The say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and that undoubtedly implies appreciating the enormous historical and architectural richness of the city, often – and rightly so – referred to as “eternal”. Stretching from Colosseum to Trevi Fountain, this walk invites you to explore the most notable attractions of the Italian capital, including the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill and more.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Campo Marzio Shopping Walk

Campo Marzio Shopping Walk

It would be a pity to leave Rome without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs which are unique to Rome, and can be found in shops around the Campo Marzio district.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) is a suburban area in Rome established in 1942, it was designed to host an exhibition which didn't take place due to World War II. EUR is popular for the period architecture of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The area also contains some very important landmarks of history and culture, including Museo della Civiltà Romana, Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico and Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

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Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rome for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rome has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Rome's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Rome Tourist Card, OMNIA Card, Best of Rome Sightseeing Pass, or Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Rome and Vatican City's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time. Some of them you don't even have to pick up but can scan straight on your phone at any of the city's major attractions/museums!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Rome hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Corso 281 Luxury Suites, Hotel Cosmopolita, Hotel Piazza Venezia.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rome, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Rome typically costs from around US$20 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Rome and the Vatican City from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Cruise along the river Tiber on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view Rome's top attractions from a different angle and be able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the stops along the Tiber riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to include a hop-on hop-off bus tour as well.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Rome on a 3-hour bike and food tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Eternal City from an informative group leader, plus savor some of the iconic food of the Italian capital.

- Come see all of Roman highlights at a great discount on the Rome Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to all the major sights like Colosseum, Roman Forum, and more.

- Take a guided walk to explore Rome's renaissance after the demise of the Roman Empire, learn about the contribution of many popes towards the Eternal City's rise to its present glory. Along with viewing the iconic landmarks, on this tour you will also get a chance to taste Rome's famous gelato (ice-cream).

- Step back in time to the days of the Roman Empire on a 3-hour night tour of Rome to discover the city's top attractions in a different light. Experience Rome's nighttime ambiance amid the twilight and the evening lights adding a romantic touch to the famous sights.

- Explore the artistic trail of Caravaggio in the Italian capital on the Caravaggio walking tour of Rome paying tribute to the great artist's legacy manifested in numerous paintings throughout the city (churches and monuments). Ideal for those on a short visit to Rome and not sure where to start!

- Combine sightseeing with cooking on a 4-hour experience incorporating the “best of Rome” walking tour and the authentic pizza-making class led by a professional Italian pizza chef.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Rome, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like the chic island of Capri, ancient Ostia, Siena and San Gimignano, Assisi and Spoleto, Amalfi сoast, or the ancient city of Pompeii. For as little as US$70+ to US$170+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including gorgeous coastal scenery, historic seaport, charming medieval structures, birthplace of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan religious order, ancient Roman ruins, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Rome, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned bus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.