May 19th, 2021 by Laura Thayer
Rome isn’t just the capital of Italy, it’s also one of the country’s capitals of art and culture. From the majesty of the Vatican Museum’s collections to the world-class art and sculptures on display at the Galleria Borghese and incredible Roman ruins, there’s so much to discover in the Eternal City. Simply walking the streets of Rome and admiring ancient Roman masterpieces like the Colosseum or the Baroque splendor of the Trevi Fountain is a feast for the eyes. If you’re planning a trip to Rome, or have just been missing Italy, you’ll love the new virtual tours of Rome’s civic museums that include some of the best museums and historic sites in the city. The tours also introduce gems that you might not normally consider for your visit. Completely free and available in English, these virtual tours are perfect for an artistic coffee break or helping your plan that next Roman holiday.
Considered the oldest museums in the world, the Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are among the most visited in Rome – and for good reason. Here you can delve into the history of ancient Rome with the impressive collection of statues and other artifacts as well as a collection of medieval and Renaissance art and much more. The museums are housed in two buildings, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo, located on the beautiful Piazza del Campidoglio. This lovely trapezoidal shaped square was designed by Michelangelo and is famous for its bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius from about 176 AD. While the one in the piazza is a copy, you can see the original inside the Capitoline Museums.
If you haven’t visited yet, you’ll love the new virtual tour of the Capitoline Museums. We think it’s one of the most detailed and interesting virtual tours we’ve ever seen! You start right in Piazza del Campidoglio and can step into either building to start exploring the galleries. The images are 360 degrees so it feels as if you’re walking right through space with the ability to look up at the gorgeous coffered ceilings and take in the full visual experience of actually being in the gallery. There’s even information available in English for key items in the collection. Keep an eye out for the audio guide and video symbols for even more detailed information.
Tip: If you get lost while exploring, click on the pin point icon in the lower right to bring up a map of the museum to select where to go next. You can even to straight to the gorgeous gallery space with the original equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the first floor. Find the Capitoline Museums virtual tour here.
Museum of the Ara Pacis
The Museum of the Ara Pacis (Museo dell’Ara Pacis) is home to the Ara Pacis, an ancient altar dedicated to the Roman goddess of Peace and commissioned to honor Emperor Augustus in the year 9 BC. While originally located outside of Rome, the monument was moved into the city in 1938 and is located along the Tiber River in the center of the city. The altar is now protected by a building designed by the architect Richard Meier that was inaugurated in 2006. Although an unexpected example of modern architecture in the heart of Rome, the glass walls and numerous skylights allow you to see the altar in as much natural light as possible. The best part of the virtual tour is that you can move all the way around and right into the altar and look at it from every direction. Enjoy a virtual tour of the Museum of the Ara Pacis to find out more about this fascinating monument.
Trajan’s Market & Museum of the Imperial Fora
For an even more in depth experience of ancient Roman art and architecture, you’ll want to visit Trajan’s Market (Mercati di Traiano), which sits along the Imperial Fora in the center of Rome. Although the name comes from the earlier idea that this space was a shopping area, it is now thought to have been the strategic administrative heart of Imperial Rome under Emperor Trajan. The city of Rome manages the archaeological complex, which is also home to the Museum of the Imperial Fora (Museo dei Fori Imperiali) that has a collection of artifacts uncovered from many ancient Roman forums. In addition to getting a close up look at Roman architecture, you can also learn more about the site over time as it transformed into a noble residence, a military fortress, a convent and more.
The virtual tour of Trajan’s Market begins in the Great Hall and from there you can explore the ground floor and the first floor. TIP: Don’t miss the view from the Panoramic Terrace on the first floor that overlooks Trajan’s Forum and the Vittoriano. Explore Trajan’s Market & Museum of the Imperial Fora virtual tour here.
Museo della Mura
Did you ever imagine walking along Roman walls from the comfort of your own home? Thanks to the city of Rome’s virtual tours, you can also visit the Museo della Mura (Museum of the Walls) located at the Porta San Sebastiano right at the beginning of the Appian Way. Great for architecture lovers, the archaeological museum delves into the history of Roman wall construction and building techniques. You’ll also have the chance to see an incredibly well-preserved section of the Aurelian Wall, the protective city walls built between 271-275 AD. Throughout the virtual tour, you’ll also learn about Porta San Sebastiano in more modern times, too. TIP: Don’t miss the drone images from the top of the terrace where you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the walls and the very start of the Appian Way. Find the virtual tour of the Museo della Mura here.
More Museums to Discover!
Of course there aren’t just museums about ancient Rome to explore on these virtual tours. The city of Rome has also created online experiences of their other museums, including a beautiful virtual tour of the Museo di Roma located in the elegant Palazzo Braschi on Piazza Navona. Explore the galleries to learn more about the history of Rome through the museum’s excellent collection of artwork and sculptures. Or take a virtual tour of the Centrale Montemartini, an early 20th-century thermoelectric power station that has been transformed into a gallery space. Enjoy the unexpected juxtaposition of industrial design with ancient Roman statues as you explore this unique site. Dig deeper into Napoleonic history with a virtual tour of the Napoleonic Museum of Rome. Finally, set off on a virtual tour of the museums of Villa Torlonia to discover the fascinating history of this grandiose Neoclassical villa that was also Mussolini’s state residence.
Find the links to all of the virtual tours of Rome’s civic museums here. We hope you’ll enjoy these online tours until you can come back to visit in person. When you’re ready to plan that trip, contact our team and we’ll help you find that perfect Rome vacation rental for your home base while you explore all the art and cultural experiences the Eternal City offers!
on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 at 10:50 am in Rome.
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