The National Roman Museum has four branches in Rome, but the main seat is Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, where one of the world's most important collections of classical art covers four floors, including sculptures, frescoes, mosaics, coins, and jewels dating from the late Republican period to the end of the Roman empire.
The 19th-century neo-Renaissance Palazzo Massimo is known as Palazzo Massimo alle Terme due to its close proximity to the Baths of Diocletian. The palazzo was used as a Jesuit college until the 1960s and became the main branch of the National Roman Museum (Museo Nazionale Romano) in the 1980s. Today, it is home to important works like the Boxer at Rest, Sleeping Hermaphrodite, Discus Thrower, and Augustus as Pontifex Maximus sculptures; portrait busts from the Republican and Imperial Ages; frescoes and mosaics from the Villa of Livia; and an extensive coin collection.
A visit to the National Roman Museum is a must for ancient history buffs, and you can join a private or small-group tour with skip-the-line tickets for both the museum and the nearby Baths of Diocletian.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum covers four full floors and there is a lot to take in, so wear shoes that are comfortable for walking and standing.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- Visitors are assigned a time to enter the hall where the Villa di Livia frescoes are displayed. Reserve your ticket in advance so you can time your arrival at the museum according to your assigned entry time.
How to Get There
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is located just opposite the main Termini train station in central Rome, and can be reached on foot by crossing Piazza dei Cinquecento. Both of the city's metro lines and numerous bus lines stop at Termini.
When to Get There
The museum is closed on Mondays, but open all day the rest of the week. Stop in around midday when most visitors are taking break for lunch to enjoy the collection with fewer crowds.
The Baths of Diocletian
Ancient Rome's largest thermal complex, the Terme di Diocleziano could once accommodate up to 3,000 bathers. The ruins of this vast complex are just next to Palazzo Massimo alle Terme and today house a branch of the Museo Nazionale Romano; the collection includes memorial inscriptions, bas-reliefs, sarcophagi, statuary, and monumental animal-head sculptures, thought to have come from the Trajan’s Forum.