The Best Museum in Rome
Updated: Feb 24, 2019
It's not the best known museum in Rome, and that's a damn shame!
I love museums, and I've been fortunate to visit quite a few of what are considered the world's best. It was a rainy, blah day during my last stint in Rome, and I was wandering the Borghese Gardens near Piazza del Popolo when I realized I was right near the Galleria d'Arte Moderna. The original plan was to visit with my best friend, but she was sick and I figured we could always visit again together.
The first pleasant surprise was that entrance was free that day - though typically it's E7.50, a definite bargain. There were lockers available so that it was unnecessary to lug my coat and soggy umbrella around with me. While the museum was somewhat busy, it wasn't crowded which made for a much more enjoyable experience without jostling massive tour groups like at the Vatican Museums.
The entrance was a stunning installation of broken glass flooring and classical sculpture. I probably spent ten minutes taking it in before entering the actual museum. The museum is large but well laid out, and there wasn't a feeling of being lost or worrying you were missing out on something.
The exhibits began with a series of modern works from the 20th and 21st centuries though the museum holds art from the 19th - 21st centuries. Kinetic visuals and abstract were largely the order of the day here. It can be difficult to find a museum for all tastes but this one definitely covers it. Famed artists such as Modigliani, Degas, Klimnt, and Kandinkij are represented in the collections, but there was a wealth of Italian artists that would be considered little known to the casual art enthusiast.
Each room is well curated, and none of it feels overcrowded. The selection is thoughtful and a balance between variety and depth. The flow is very natural and meanders comfortably between works that feel older than they are to very modern works with heavy emphasis on graphic design.
I spent around two hours there, and didn't feel overstimulated as can sometimes happen in more massive museums. This one was the Goldilock's Zone: just the right size and just enough variety to be truly enjoyable. There is no shortage of terrific museums in Rome, but I would definitely place this high on your list, particularly if you've had enough of gilded panels and oil paintings of saints and nobles.
Watch the video below to experience a bit of the museum, and share your favorite museum experience in the comments.