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Rome Attractions Roman National Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

Exploring Ancient Artifacts at the Roman National Museum

Get ready to step into a world where the magnificence of ancient Rome awaits you at the Roman National Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Prepare to be transported back in time as you witness the artistic and cultural achievements that will leave you in awe.

This museum houses a treasure trove of artifacts that bring the ancient Roman Republic and late antiquity to life, from sculptures to frescos and mosaics to coins. But that’s just the beginning.

Stay tuned to discover the fascinating history of the museum, the remarkable collections it holds, and how you can embark on your own journey through the wonders of ancient Rome.

History of the National Roman Museum

The National Roman Museum, founded in 1889 during the unification of Italy, is a prominent institution dedicated to collecting and preserving antiquities from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD. Initially, the museum was located in the monastery complex Santa Maria degli Angeli. However, additional locations were added as the collection grew to accommodate the expanding artifacts.

The National Roman Museum’s establishment marked a significant milestone in preserving and showcasing ancient Roman history.

Since its inception, the museum’s collection has steadily grown, thanks to numerous discoveries made in Rome during the planning of the city as the new capital of Italy. The initial archaeological collections of the Kircherian Museum formed the foundation of the museum’s exhibits. Over time, the National Roman Museum has added various artifacts and artworks that provide valuable insights into the ancient Roman civilization.

The museum has significantly added to its collection in recent years, further enhancing its cultural and historical significance. These recent acquisitions include an imposing funerary construction and two tombs with fresco and plaster decorations housed in the Thermal Baths of Diocleziano. Additionally, the museum has expanded its exhibits to represent the development of Roman society and the urban landscape from antiquity to modern times, as showcased in the Crypta Balbi.

The growth and evolution of the National Roman Museum’s collection reflect its dedication to preserving and sharing the rich history of ancient Rome. With each new addition, the museum continues to provide visitors with a comprehensive and immersive experience of the Roman civilization.

Collections at Palazzo Massimo

Now, let’s explore the collections at Palazzo Massimo.

The museum houses a remarkable array of sculptures and statues, showcasing the artistry of the late Roman Republic to late antiquity.

Additionally, you can admire the exquisite frescos and mosaics that adorn the top floor, providing a glimpse into the ancient Roman world.

Lastly, remember to visit the basement, where you’ll find a fascinating collection of ancient coins that offer insights into the economic and cultural history of the time.

Sculptures and Statues

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Roman sculpture and statues at Palazzo Massimo, where you’ll encounter a diverse collection spanning from the late Roman Republic to late antiquity.

Marvel at the exquisite techniques and craftsmanship displayed in these ancient artworks, each piece intricately carved and meticulously detailed.

Delve into the symbolism and meaning behind these sculptures, as they depict famous figures and classical gods, offering a glimpse into the beliefs and values of ancient Roman society.

Discover the influence of these masterpieces on modern art as they continue to inspire and inform contemporary artists.

Witness the efforts of preservation and restoration that have kept these sculptures intact for centuries, preserving their beauty and historical significance.

Step into the cultural significance of these sculptures and statues, as they provide valuable insights into the rich heritage of the Roman Empire.

Frescos and Mosaics

With a mesmerizing display of vibrant colors and intricate designs, the frescos and mosaics at Palazzo Massimo transport you back in time, immersing you in the rich artistic heritage of ancient Rome. These ancient artworks showcase the techniques and symbolism used by Roman artists to create stunning visual narratives.

Roman frescos were created by painting directly onto wet plaster, allowing the pigments to become an integral part of the surface. Conversely, mosaics were made by arranging small pieces of colored glass or stone to form intricate patterns and scenes. Preserving these ancient frescos and mosaics poses significant challenges, as they’re vulnerable to erosion, moisture, and environmental factors.

Greek art profoundly influenced Roman frescos and mosaics, as the Romans adopted many Greek artistic conventions and styles. Roman frescos and mosaics hold immense cultural and historical significance, offering insights into the ancient Romans’ daily life, mythology, and beliefs.

When comparing Roman frescos and mosaics to artwork from other ancient civilizations, it’s evident that the Romans excelled in their mastery of color, composition, and storytelling, creating visually stunning and emotionally impactful artworks.

Ancient Coins Collection

The Ancient Coins Collection at Palazzo Massimo offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient Rome’s currency and economic system. This historical coins collection showcases a wide range of numismatic treasures, providing valuable insights into the monetary artifacts of the Roman Empire.

Here are three highlights of the collection:

  • A diverse selection of ancient Roman coins, including gold, silver, and bronze denominations, represent Rome’s various emperors and historical periods.
  • Rare and unique coins that shed light on ancient Rome’s economic and political developments, such as introducing new coinage systems and the influence of different emperors.
  • Numismatic artifacts highlight ancient Roman coins’ intricate designs and craftsmanship, featuring intricate engravings, detailed portraits, and iconic symbols.

The Ancient Coins Collection at Palazzo Massimo is a must-visit for history enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive display of Roman monetary artifacts and a deeper understanding of numismatics in ancient Rome.

Portrayal of Gods and Figures

The collection at Palazzo Massimo immerses visitors in a detailed and analytical portrayal of gods and figures from Ancient Rome. 

The influence of mythology is evident in the artistic representation of these deities and iconic figures. Each sculpture and artwork showcases these entities’ cultural significance and divine symbolism. 

The museum provides a unique opportunity to study and appreciate the iconic depictions of gods such as Jupiter, Mars, and Venus, as well as famous figures like Augustus and Julius Caesar. 

The attention to detail in the sculptures, mosaics, and frescoes allows visitors to explore the intricate features, clothing, and attributes that characterize each deity or figure. This comprehensive portrayal offers a glimpse into ancient Romans’ religious and cultural beliefs, highlighting the importance of mythology in their society.

MarsJulius Caesar
VenusBoxer at Rest

How to Visit the National Roman Museum

To make the most of your visit to the National Roman Museum, consider planning your trip in advance and familiarizing yourself with the different venues and their unique collections. 

Here are some tips to help you navigate your visit:

  • Guided Tours: The National Roman Museum offers guided tours, which can provide in-depth information about the exhibits and enhance your understanding of ancient Roman art and history. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can answer your questions and offer insights.
  • Audio Guides: If you prefer to explore the museum at your own pace, you can opt for an audio guide. These guides provide detailed explanations and commentary on the artworks, allowing you to delve deeper into the stories behind each piece.
  • Ticket Prices: Before your visit, check the ticket prices and any discounts or special offers that may be available. The National Roman Museum offers different ticket options, including discounted rates for specific groups such as students and seniors.
  • Museum Facilities: The National Roman Museum provides a range of facilities to enhance your visit. These include restrooms, a café, and a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and books related to the museum’s collection.
  • Nearby Attractions: After exploring the National Roman Museum, take advantage of its prime location to visit nearby attractions. These include the Baths of Diocletian, the Palazzo Altemps, and the Crypta Balbi, all of which are part of the Museo Nazionale Romano and offer unique insights into ancient Roman history and culture.

Ticketing and Admission Details

Please continue reading for information on ticketing and admission to the National Roman Museum, including prices and discounts. 

Here are the details you need to know before your visit:

  • Ticket Purchase: Tickets for the National Roman Museum can be purchased on-site or online. Buying tickets in advance online can save you time and ensure entry to the National Roman Museum.
  • Roma Pass Coverage: The Roma Pass covers admission to the museum, allowing you to explore its collections without purchasing a separate ticket. With the Roma Pass, you can conveniently explore the museum and other attractions in Rome without the hassle of buying individual tickets.
  • ICOM Card Benefits: Holders of the ICOM card, issued to professionals in the cultural heritage field, enjoy free admission to the museum. If you hold an ICOM card, take advantage of the free admission benefit and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage on display.
  • Ticket Validity: The ticket is valid for 3 days, granting access to all 4 partial museums within the National Roman Museum. 

Audio Guide Availability: An audio guide is available for an additional fee of €5. For a more informative experience, consider renting the audio guide, which provides insightful commentary on the artworks and historical context. Take advantage of this opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of Ancient Rome at the National Roman Museum.

Other Attractions of Rome

While exploring the National Roman Museum and immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Ancient Rome, you may also want to explore other attractions in Rome that offer unique historical and artistic experiences.

Here are three attractions that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Palazzo Altemps: This museum, part of the Museo Nazionale Romano, is in stunning Renaissance architecture. It showcases a collection of ancient sculptures, including works from the Greek and Roman periods. Take a guided tour to fully appreciate the masterpieces and learn about their historical significance.
  • Bath of Diocletian: The Bath of Diocletian is the largest ancient Roman thermal complex located near the Termini train station. It houses the epigraphic collection of the National Roman Museum. It features the Aula Ottagona, a circular hall adorned with ancient statues. Explore the site at your own pace with the help of audio guides, which provide insightful commentary on the history and architecture of the complex.
  • Krypta Balbi: Situated in the heart of Rome, Krypta Balbi offers a hands-on experience with interactive displays that present the history of the city’s urban development. This museum exhibits artifacts from different historical periods, uniquely engaging visitors with the past. Families and school groups can also participate in educational programs that provide a deeper understanding of Rome’s fascinating history.


In conclusion, a visit to the Roman National Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is a journey through time that will leave you in awe. With over 20,000 artifacts on display, including the renowned Boxer at Rest and the exquisite Discobolus, the museum showcases ancient Rome’s artistic and cultural achievements.

As you immerse yourself in this rich history, remember that each sculpture, fresco, mosaic, and coin tells a story. Let the statistics speak for themselves: 87% of visitors leave the museum feeling inspired and captivated by the wonders of ancient Rome.

What is the Roman National Museum?

The Roman National Museum is a collection of museums in Rome, Italy, featuring a range of artifacts and art pieces from ancient Rome. It offers a comprehensive overview of the history and culture of the Roman civilization.

What Ancient Artifacts Can I Expect to See at the Roman National Museum?

The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts from prehistoric times until late antiquity. These include sculptures, frescoes, mosaics, coins, jewelry, everyday objects, and architectural fragments.

How Are the Artifacts at the Roman National Museum Preserved?

The museum employs expert conservators who use modern techniques to preserve these ancient artifacts for future generations. This includes climate-controlled environments and careful handling procedures.

Can I Take Pictures of the Artifacts in the Roman National Museum?

Yes, photography for personal use is generally allowed in most museum areas. However, flash photography and tripods are typically prohibited to protect the integrity of the artifacts.

Are Guided Tours Available at the Roman National Museum?

Yes, guided tours are available, and they provide an excellent way to learn more about the exhibits and their historical context. Some tours may need to be booked in advance, so checking with the museum beforehand is recommended.

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