With its extravagant piazzas, ornamental fountains and architectural styles built up over centuries, Rome is a city with art around every corner. And while you can’t miss world-famous art collections housed within the Vatican Museums and the Galleria Borghese, the city has dozens of smaller museums that are worth a visit – and some of these are even free!
Museo Mario Praz
Lying just steps from Piazza Navona within Palazzo Primoli, the House Museum of Mario Praz is a hidden gem right in the middle of all the action. The museum is spread across 10 rooms and features over a thousand works of art, including paintings, furniture and sculptures that belonged to Mario Praz (1896-1982), an Italian writer, literary critic and scholar of English literature. The home is decorated in an orante 18th century style, with chandeliers, musical instruments and vivid green walls, and provides a fascinating foray into the mind of the great thinker.
Hours: Thurs & Fri 14:30-18:30, Sat 9:00-13:00
Address: Via Zanardelli Giuseppe 3
Stay: Navona Terrace
Right off of busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele (and in between Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona) Museo Baracco is well worth a visit while you’re in the center of Rome. This elegant museum is home to hundreds of Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Phoenician and Assyrian sculptures and fragments laid out across ornate rooms of a Renaissance palazzo. The collection belonged to Giovanni Barracco (1829 – 1914), a politician and scholar with a passion for ancient civilizations, and was donated to the city of Rome in 1905.
Hours: Tues – Sun 10:00-16:00
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 168
Stay: Navona Terrace
Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi
The Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi is a decorative arts museum right near Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini in the heart of Rome. situated in the art nouveau Villino Boncompagni; Originally owned by the princess Blanceflor de Bildt Boncompani, it was donated to the Italian republic in 1972 to help promote art, culture and fashion in the capital. You’ll find ornate 19th and 20th century furnishings, clothing, accessories as well as a selection of paintings and sculptures on display in the house museum.
Hours: Tues – Sun 9:30 – 19:00
Address: Via Boncompagni 18
Stay: Opera Residence
Museo Carlo Bilotti
The Museo Carlo Bilotti is a contemporary art museum tucked away within an orangery in the Villa Borghese gardens. Housing the collection of Carlo Bilotti (an international cosmetics buyer and art collector), it’s home to a permanent collection of modern works by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers. The museum also hosts rotating exhibits of Italian artists such as Giacomo Balla and JAGO.
Hours: Tues – Fri 10:00-16:00 / Sat & Sun 10:00-19:00
Address: Viale Fiorello La Guardia 6 (inside Villa Borghese)
Stay: Grazia Family Home