Visit the Rome Museums in 3 Days. What to See

For art lovers, spend 3 days in Rome to visit the museums can be an incredible experience. In fact, the capital hosts plenty of museums, some of which are really not to be missed. From the Vatican Museums to the Capitoline Museums, from the Borghese Gallery to the MAXXI, each of them is an attraction that will not disappoint you.
Since you need to spend at least two hours in each museum, we recommend that you visit only one of them each day , and then spend the rest of the day exploring the area around the museum that you have chosen.

Here is our proposed route to visit the museums of Rome in 3 days and enjoy unforgettable  days.

First Day

  • Musei Capitolini
  • Museo e Galleria Doria Panphilj
  • Piazza Venezia
  • Piazza del Campidoglio
  • Pantheon
  • Trastevere

Dying gaul, Capitoline Museums in Rome

1. CAPITOLINE MUSEUM

The attraction from which we propose to begin the itinerary to visit the museums of Rome in 3 days is that of the Capitoline Museum (Musei Capitolini, equipped for the disabled). Arrive in Piazza Venezia (Piazza Venezia bus stop) and reach Piazza del Campidoglio by accessing the Cordonata, the staircase from the Ara Coeli square rising to the top of the hill.
Admire the square made by Michelangelo at whose center there is the copy of the equestrian statue of Marco Aurelio (the authentic one is found in the Capitoline Museums).

The square is surrounded by three buildings: Palazzo Senatorio at the bottom, Palazzo Nuovo on the left and Palazzo dei Conservatori on the right. The museums are located in the last two buildings.
The main entrance to the museum complex is in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, where the original core of the Statuary collection and a Pinacoteca (on the second floor) are located, with paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Van Dyck and many other great artists.
Palazzo Nuovo instead contains an incredible number of classic sculptures. Not to be missed, among other things, the lupa Capitolina (capitoline wolf), the dying Galata, and the Capitoline Venus.
A good visit will require at least two hours.

2. PIAZZA VENEZIA

After getting out of the museums stop for lunch. Once you have been refreshed and have regained your strenght go back to Piazza Venezia, dominated by the Vittoriano, the immense white marble monument which was erected in 1885 to celebrate Italy’s unity. Later it has been devoted to the unknown soldier and a torch burns perennially inside, guarded by guardians of honor. We remind you that it is forbidden to sit on both the stairs and inside, the controls are severe.

3. PANTHEON

To enjoy a 360° view of the town go up to the terrace with the glass elevator on the side of the monument. HERE for the tikets!
Walk to the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient monument in Rome and one of the great symbols of the capital. Enter and be amazed by its largest concrete dome in the world and by the marble-covered interiors.

4. TRASTEVERE

From there, head to Largo Argentina and take the tram number 8 to Viale Trastevere. End up the evening in Trastevere, the heart of Rome and today the hub of nightlife and wine and food.

5. PALAZZO E GALLERIA DORIA PANPHILIJ

As an alternative to the Capitoline Museums you can visit the Palazzo e Galleria Doria Panphilj (bus stop: Via del Corso), which contains one of Rome’s richest private art collections.
The galleries consist of ten halls arranged chronologically and full of floor-to-ceiling paintings. Do not miss Salomé with the head of the Baptist byTitian and the Rest while escaping to Egypt by Caravaggio and again the portrait of Innocent X of Velasquez. When you finish your journey, follow the route described before, also because you are very close to Piazza Venezia.

OPENING TIMES

Capitoline Museum: every day 9.30 am to 7.30 pm, 24 and 31 December 9.30-14. The ticket office closes an hour before. Closed on January 1, May 1, December 31.  Included in the Roma Pass.

Palazzo e Galleria Doria Panphilj: every day from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. Last entry at 6.00 pm. Closing: December 25, January 1, Easter. Also open on November 1, Angel Monday, April 25, May 1, June 2 and August 15.

TICKETS FOR THE FIRST DAY

To save on entry to these attractions, we recommend using one of the many combined packages. You can find some of them below. Alternatively you can buy the Omnia Card

Second Day

  • Piazza San Pietro
  • Musei Vaticani
  • Catel Sant’Angelo
  • Piazza Navona

1. VATICAN MUSEUMS

Start your second day in the capital with a visit to the Vatican Museums (we recommend you to purchase the tickets online to skip the queue). To get there, get off at the Ottaviano San Pietro Metro Station.
Visiting the Vatican Museums is an experience that you will not forget easily: 7 kilometers of exhibition space and more masterpieces than those found in many small countries. They have one of the largest art collections in the world. Do not you to be able to see them all, you could spend years there!

The statue of the Laocoonte hosted in the Vatican Museums

The statue of the Laocoonte hosted in the Vatican Museums, it is a stop not to be missed if you want to visit Rome in three days

For a panoramic tour (plan no less than two and a half hours) we recommend to visit:

1. the Pinacoteca (do not miss the Raffello’s Transfiguration)
2. the Pio-Clementino museum (for the Apollo of the Belvedere and the magnificent Laocoonte)
3. the Geographic Gallery
4.  the Rooms of Raffaello
5. the unmissable Cappella Sistina (the only room with air conditioning).

2. PIAZZA SAN PIETRO

After terminating the visit, with the Michelangelo’s paintings still in your eyes, stand in St. Peter’s Square (piazza San Pietro) for the unmissable photos and enjoy the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) If you are not yet in an art overdose and the queue is not crazy go and visit it, otherwise you should stop for eating and some rest.

3. CASTEL SANT’ANGELO
4. PIAZZA NAVONA
5. CAMPO DEI FIORI

Once you have regained strenght walk through via della Conciliazione until Castel Sant’Angelo and admire it only from the outside. Cross Ponte Sant’Angelo and walk through the alleys and squares that will take you to Piazza Navona.
Blend into the crowd of tourists and street artists who fill it every hour of day and night and let yourself be overwhelmed by the beauty of baroque palaces and fountains that characterize it.Take a break to drink the best coffee in Rome in the nearby Sant’Eustachio square in the homonymous café, and then reach Campo dei Fiori
In the shadow of the statue of the heretical Giordano Bruno, who was burned alive there, the square is one of the central points of the Roman life: during the day a market full of people, in the night a place where to go and drink something.

As an alternative to the Vatican Museums you can visit the Roman National Museum: Palazzo Massimo at the thermal baths (metro stop: Termini). The museum (accessible also by handicapped), often overlooked, is wonderful, large and bright and contains spectacular classical pieces of art (the Resting Boxer, the Sleepy Ermaphrodite) as well as extraordinary paintings and mosaics. After visiting the museum spend the rest of the day according to the route described above. You can reach Piazza Navona with an half hour walk.

OPENING TIMES

Vatican Museums: Monday to Saturday from 9.00am to 6.00pm (last entry at 4.00pm and exit from the halls half an hour before closing). Online tickets

St. Peter’s Basilica: 1st October – 31st March every day from 7.00am to 6:30pm / 1 April – 30 September every day from 7.00am to 7.00pm. Free admission.

Roman National Museum: Palazzo Massimo at the thermal baths Open daily from 9.00 am to 7.45 pm. Closed on Mondays (except Mondays in Albis and during the Culture Week), 1 January, 25 December. The ticket office closes at 7pm. Included in the Omnia Card.

TICKETS FOR THE SECOND DAY

To save on entry to these attractions, we recommend using one of the many combined packages. You can find some of them below. Alternatively you can buy the Omnia Card

Third Day

  • Museo e Galleria Borghese
  • Villa Borghese
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Piazza di Spagna

 Visit the museums of Rome in 3 days: Galleria Borghese

1. BORGHESE MUSEUM AND GALLERY

If you are in love with art, you can not miss from your trip to discover the museums of Rome in three days, a visit the Borghese Museum and Gallery, called the “Queen of Private Art Collections”. In a single place you will find concentrated works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Botticelli and Raffaello, and the famous Canova statue depicting Paolina Borghese as Venus winner.

To limit the number of visitors people are allowed to enter only at two-hour intervals. It is necessary to book the date and time of the visit. You can do it by phone or online. The entry is in piazzale del Museo Borghese n. 5.

If, however, after the Capitoline and Vatican museums you have gone in an overdose and want a radical change, it’s worth making a visit to the MAXXI (National Museum of the 21st Century Arts). The flagship of contemporary art galleries, designed by the Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was inaugurated in 2010.

The multi-layer geometric façade hides an interior of gigantic dimensions, full of light and crossed by suspended staircases and structures made of glass, cement and iron. It consists of two sections, one dedicated to the architecture and one to contemporary art. It is espacially interesting thing is to visit it during exhibitions and installations.
You can reach the place by metro (line A stop Flaminio) by tram and by bus getting off at the Viale Tiziano stop.

2. PIAZZA DEL POPOLO E PIAZZA DI SPAGNA

Whatever your choice, after your visit, we recommend you to spend the rest of the day walking and strolling in the Villa Borghese park. Keep going in Piazza del Popolo and arrive to Piazza di Spagna, with the spectacular staircase of Trinità dei Monti (recently restored and brought back to its ancient splendor) and the Barcaccia fountain.

Finish the evening by dining in one of the many places of the area.
Our itinerary to see the museums in Rome in three days is just an overall advice. Choose the one that you prefer and dedicate your time to the various attractions as you like.

OPENING TIMES

Borghese Museum and Gallery: Monday closed, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm; Wednesday from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm. Closed on January 1, December 25. The entrance is allowed up to half an hour before the closing time.

MAXXI: Tuesday to Friday from 11.00 am to 7.00 pm, Saturday from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm, Sunday from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm; Thursday from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm. Closed Monday, 25 December and 1 January. The ticket office closes an hour before. 

TICKETS FOR THE THIRD DAY

To save on entry to these attractions, we recommend using one of the many combined packages. You can find some of them below. Alternatively you can buy the Omnia Card

You may also be interested

Visiting Rome in 3 days – Our recommended itinerary 
Visiting Rome in 2 days with children – Where to go and what to do
Visit the Vatican City – What to visit
The Vatican – Curiosities that you might to know
Trips outside of Rome – What to see and where to go
The Colosseum – How it is made?

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