Four Rome museums surround a piazza and opened to the public in 1734, they are considered the first museum complex in the world. The history of its oldest museum can be traced to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated important ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on the Capitoline Hill. Since then, the collection has grown to include many ancient Roman statues and other artifacts; a collection of Medieval and Renaissance art; jewels, coins and other items. The statue of a mounted rider in the centre of the piazza is of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is a copy, the original being housed inside Palazzo dei Conservatori. It was built in the Middle Ages for the local magistrates called “Conservatori of Rome” and sits atop of a sixth-century BC temple dedicated to Jupiter “Maximus Capitolinus.” Michelangelo renovated it in the 1530s. It features a range of Corinthian pilasters and subsidiary Ionic columns flanking the ground-floor loggia openings and the second-floor windows. The portico contains many architectural features since copied worldwide. Some include colossal pilasters set on large bases adjoining the portico and the upper story. A balustrade fringing the roof emphasizes the vertical lines in majestic contrast. Additional museums in the complex are: Palazzo Caffarelli Clementino annex to the Palazzo dei Conservatori for short-term exhibitions; Palazzo Senatorio has an upper part of the facade was designed by Michelangelo with colossal corinthian pilasters again. Its bell-tower was built between 1578 and 1582. Its current facade was built by Giacomo della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi. Today, it houses the Roman city hall; Palazzo Nuovo, constructed over 1603-54, using Michelangelo’s blueprint, its facade duplicates Palazzo dei Conservatori.
ADDRESS: Piazza del Campidoglio 1, Rome, Italy
Build in 123–139 AD as the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian. Today, it’s a towering cylindrical museum and tourist attraction in Parco Adriano district. The building was later used by popes as a fortress and castle. It is now a museum. The top statue is of Michael the Archangel, from whom the building derives its name. The tomb of Hadrian was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between AD 134 and 139. Hadrian’s ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina. The remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217. Urns containing their ashes were probably placed in what is now known as the Treasury Room, deep within the building. Hadrian also built the Pons Aelius facing the mausoleum with statues of angels holding instruments of the Passion of Christ.
Located at the base of the Quirinal Hill, and adjacent to the church of Santi Apostoli. It is built in part over the ruins of an old Roman serapeum, and it has belonged to the prominent Colonna family for over twenty generations. Courtyard of the palace dates from the 13th century. Tradition holds that the building hosted Dante during his visit to Rome. It was home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy. With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family in the 1520s. Inside, Galleria Colonna was completed 1703. It includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, and others. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto in 1571. An Apotheosis of Martin V was painted by Benedetto Luti. It also contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by many famous Italian painters. It houses one of the largest private art collections in Rome. The ending scene from the 1953 classic movie “Roman Holiday”, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, was filmed at the gallery.
Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna
Containing contemporary art, but housed in a former 17th century monastery adjacent to the church of San Giuseppe a Capo le Case. The collection of the museum date from a purchase by the comune of Rome. Its major works come from the international fine art exhibition of 1883. The museum was officially constituted in 1925. The gallery contains more than 3000 sculptures, paintings and graphic works of the late 19th century and the early 20th century artists.
ADDRESS: 24 Via Francesco Crispi, Rome
Mausoleum of Augustus
Built in 28 BC as tomb for Emperor Augustus. The mausoleum is located on the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, near the corner with Via di Ripetta as it runs along the Tiber. The mausoleum was one of the first projects initiated by Augustus in the city of Rome following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, faced with travertine on the exterior, and planted with cypresses on the top tier. The whole structure was capped by a conical roof and a huge bronze statue of Augustus. The completed mausoleum measured 295 feet in diameter by 137 feet in height. Two pillars flanking the entrance were mounted with bronze plaques inscribed with the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, the document describing Augustus’ accomplishments and victories in war. Surrounding the mausoleum was landscaped parkland. In 410 AD, during the sack of Rome, Visigoths rifled the vaults, stole the urns and scattered the ashes without damaging the structure of the building. By the end of the 10th century, the mausoleum had become largely buried under earth and overgrown with trees. By the 12th century, it was re-fortified as a castle. Throughout the Renaissance Period, it passed through the ownership of several major Roman families, who used it as a garden. In the early 20th century, the interior of the Mausoleum was used as a concert hall, President Mussolini ordered it closed in the 1930s and restored it to an archaeological site. Last restored 2021, it incorporates a multi-media exhibition project images of modern and ancient Rome onto the interior walls.
ADDRESS: Campus Martius, Rome
Ara Pacis Museum
It is one of the most significant monuments of Ancient Rome as a temple for the sacrifice of sacred animals where only priests and vestals participated. This new structure to house Ara Pacis, dating to 9 BC, is located on the western edge of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore and the Tiber River. It replaces the monument’s previous enclosure in decay. The structure consists of a long, single-story glazed loggia elevated above a shallow podium providing a transparent barrier between the embankment of the Tiber and the perimeter of the Mausoleum of Augustus. The altar was relocated from the Campo Marzio in 1938. An artificial obelisk is used as a historical reference on the north-south axis through the altar. The must-see building is in a glass curtain wall measuring 150 feet long x 40 feet high.
ADDRESS: Lungotevere in Augusta, Rome
Housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, the gallery was originally integrated with its gardens. Today, Villa Borghese Gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction. The Galleria houses a substantial part of the Borghese Collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621). It was a country villa at the edge of Rome. Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of works by Caravaggio, who is well represented in the collection. Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese (1730–1800) began the recasting of the garden architecture into an English landscape garden in 1775. The Borghese villa was modified and extended down the years, eventually being sold to the Italian government in 1902. The main floor is devoted to classical antiquities of the 1st–3rd centuries AD, including a famous mosaic of gladiators and a neo-classical sculpture such as the Venus Victrix.
A large complex of ruins in the city of Rome, Italy, was probably built in 100-113 AD. It is located on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, at the opposite end to the Colosseum. The surviving buildings and structures are built nestled against the excavated flank of the Quirinal Hill. They present a living model of life and architecture in Ancient Rome. Thought to be the world’s oldest shopping mall, the arcades are now believed to be administrative offices for Emperor Trajan. The shops and apartments were built in a multi-level structure and it is still possible to visit several of the levels. Highlights include delicate marble floors and the remains of a library. Trajan’s Market was designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, an architect whom Trajan entrusted to plan his Forum. During the Middle Ages the complex was transformed by adding floor levels. The Museum of the Imperial Fora, opened in 2007, houses a wealth of artifacts from all of ancient Rome’s forums. At the end of this hall, a large balcony offers a beautiful view of the markets, Trajan’s Forum, and the Vittoriano.
The grand hall of the market is roofed by a concrete vault raised on piers, both covering and allowing air and light into the central space. The market itself is constructed primarily out of brick and concrete.
Museum of Roman Civilization
Its devoted to aspects of the Ancient Roman Civilization. It largely consists of replicas of Roman artwork and scale models of Roman buildings. The highlight is an incredible scale model of ancient Rome in the age of Emperor Constantine I by Italo Gismondi. This model is at a 1:250 scale and made of plaster. The model is today the most important reference for reconstruction and #D modeling of the Ancient Rome. Gismondi’s model can be seen in a few shots of the 2000 movie “Gladiator.” The museum also contains early Christian art, spiral reliefs round Trajan’s Column, and a reconstructed Roman library. Lets hope it reopens soon.
ADDRESS: Piazza Giovanni Agnelli, 10, Rome
They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. It rank the Top 5 visited art museums in the world. There are 54 galleries, including Pio-Clementino Museum,
Chiaramonti Museum, Gregoriano Etrusco Museum, Gregoriano Egiziano Museum, a Statue of the Nile from 1st Century AD, Vatican Historical Museum
ADDRESS: Vatican City
Roman Theatre of Ancient Ostia
Ostia is situated at the mouth of the Tiber, about 15 miles from Rome. Built under the reign of Emperor Augustus at the end of the 1st century BC, it was a majestic and big enough to hold 2500 people. At the end of the 2nd century it was further amplified to bring it to a seating capacity of 4000. The central corridor was then modified by Ragonius Vincent Celsus in the 4th century. He had a statue representing Rome installed, which is still visible. He also had the bases of statues moved from Piazzale delle Corporazioni, which had fallen into a state of abandon. The piazza and theatre formed a grand complex, including offices of the most prestigious merchants. The building was restored many times through the centuries. Today, the theatre lies within the archaeological area of the excavations, yet remains venue for many concerts, theatre shows, dance productions and cabaret performances.
ADDRESS: Viale dei Romagnoli, 717