Best Free Museums in Rome

Wondering if we have any free museums in Rome?

The answer is yes!

barracco museum ornate roomYes, you can see rooms like this one at the Barraco Museum for absolutely free! Keep reading to find out more.

Free Museums in Rome - A complete list

On my YouTube channel, I made a video about my top 5 favorite free museums in Rome, but we have many more than just five.

From ancient art to modern times, Roman ruins and landmarks, artists' homes and war memorials, there are plenty of places you can visit for free!

accademia nazionale san luca outdoor statueThe beautiful sculpture on display at the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca is just one of the attractions on offer at Rome's free museums!

On this page, you'll find information about Rome's free museums in these categories:

Rome's free art museums

These are some of the best museums in Rome that you can visit for free with a focus on art and sculpture:

Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco

barracco museum architectureEven the entrance to this museum is impressive!

A unique and quite stunning collection of ancient sculptures, the Giovanni Barracco Museum of Ancient Sculpture collection was first put together in the late 19th century.

Containing some remarkable examples of Egyptian sculpture (most notably the sphinx of Hatshepsut) as well as Greek, Cypriot, Etruscan, and Roman art, today it is considered among the most important collections in the world of ancient art.

barracco museum egyptian artThe Egyptian collection at the Barracco Museum is particularly interesting

Barracco personally choose the artifacts and in 1902 gifted his spectacular collection to the city of Rome.

A must-see for lovers of art and sculpture, this museum is one of my favorites in Rome, plus the building itself is also stunning, and it is never busy.

It's almost unbelievable that it is free entry to this amazing collection!

barracco museum sculpture galleryCheck out the empty galleries, perfect if you want to escape the crowds

Location and hours:

Corso Vittorio Emanuele 166/A

October to May: Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am-4:00pm

June to September: Tuesday-Sunday: 1:00pm-7:00pm

Accademia Nazionale di San Luca

accademia nazionale san luca sculpture galleryThe galleries at the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca are very well curated

The National Academy of San Luca dates back to the 16th century and has, through all these years, acted as a cultural center for the arts.

With a changing routine of temporary exhibitions, the Academy is populated by lovers of the arts who can also use the extensive library.

The building is located in the heart of Rome's historic center, literally next to the Trevi Fountain.

One of my favorite things about this free admission museum is Borromini's helicoidal ramp.

accademia nazionale san luca borromini ramp entranceThe entrance to Borromini's ramp gives a taste of its architectural genius!

Location and hours:

Piazza dell’Accademia di San Luca 77

Tuesday to Saturday: guided tours start at 10:00am, 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm

Reservations required, email to book your place

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Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO)

The Museum of Contemporary Art, usually abbreviated to MACRO, is housed in two separate buildings.

With a permanent collection of modern art from the 1960's onwards and rotating exhibitions that feature current artists in both visual and audio form, it presents a fascinating selection of artworks that detail the development of the arts scene in Italy from the mid-20th century.

For lovers of modern art, this one of Rome's museums is not to be missed.

Location and hours:

Via Nizza 138 and Via Reggio Emilia 54

Tuesday-Friday: 12:00pm-7:00pm

Saturday-Sunday: 10:00am-7:00pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing

Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi per le Arti Decorative, il Costume e la Moda

museo boncompagni ludovisi entranceI love being able to walk inside one of Rome's grand palazzos

This unique and fascinating museum occupies a delightful villa in the elegant Via Veneto - Ludovisi neighborhood.

Furnished as an upper-class villa of the early 20th century, the museum offers an excellent view of how the modern owners lived in the Eternal City.

museo boncompagni ludovisi dress paintingsThe combination of art and fashion on display is absolutely fascinating

For those who appreciate fashion, interior design, and history, this museum is a unique experience.

museo boncompagni ludovisi displayIt's easy to spend hours exploring each room in this free museum

Location and hours:

Via Boncompagni, 18

Tuesday-Sunday: 9:00am-7:00pm

Museo Carlo Bilotti 

The impressive collection of 20th century modern art at the Museo Carlo Bilotti is made up of 23 works gifted to the city of Rome by the entrepreneur after whom the museum is named.

Among the major attractions of this beautiful museum are the portraits of Lisa and Tine Bilotti, painted by the world-famous Andy Warhol in 1981.

Featuring works from celebrated artists from the mid to late 20th century, this is a collection that lovers of modern art will appreciate, presented in a beautiful location.

Location and hours:

Via Fiorello La Guardia 6 and Viale dell’Aranciera 4

October to May: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-7:00pm

June to September: Tuesday-Friday 1:00pm-7:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-7:00pm

Museo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese

This permanent exhibition of works by the talented and famous Italian sculptor, painter, and composer Pietro Canonica is a testament to the talent of this multi-faceted 20th century artist.

Working in the Realist style, and following World War II dedicated to more religious output, the Pietro Canonica museum displays marble and bronze sculptures and sketches by the great man.

Perhaps most famous for his Marble bust of King Edward VII, which resides in Buckingham Palace in London, the works on display in this dedicated museum (originally the artist's display rooms) are among some of the most important 20th century sculptures.

Location and hours:

Viale Pietro Canonica (Piazza di Siena) 2

October to May: Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am-4:00pm

June to September: Tuesday-Sunday: 1:00pm-7:00pm

Free ancient Roman sites in Rome

Museo delle Mura

museo delle mura entranceAt the Museo della Mura you'll get up close to the ancient Roman walls which defined the city for hundreds of years

Museo delle Mura or the 'Museum of the Walls' offers a fascinating insight into the ancient walls of Rome.

It's another of my favorite museums in Rome, free or not!

I love that you can really appreciate Ancient Roman architecture without the crushing crowds at the Colosseum.

museo delle mura mosaicSeeing stunning ancient mosaics on display is part of the wonderful exhibition here

Among the most interesting of the free museums in Rome, this incredible exhibit allows visitors to walk inside the best-preserved section of the ancient ruins of the Aurelian Wall.

Dedicated to informing visitors about the city walls, their construction methods, and their purpose, this archaeological museum is a historical wonder that takes you back to the day of ancient Rome.

The various rooms offer information on many aspects of the Roman history of the city, including one about the Appian Way, the ancient Roman road whose beginning can be seen from the windows of the museum.

museo delle mura view of ancient wallsFrom the museum you can get a much better sense of how the ancient walls are still standing than you can from street level

Location and hours:

Via di Porta San Sebastiano 18

Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00am-2:00pm

Watch my video to learn more about my top choice of all the free museums in Rome:

Villa di Massenzio - Villa of Maxentius

villa maxentius gatewayThe Villa of Maxentius is out on the Appian Way, making it an idyllic place to see ancient ruins

The Villa di Massenzio is an important archaeological site in Rome

It features the remains of three buildings from the Roman era.

These are part of a villa and an extended complex belonging to Emperor Maxentius, once co-emperor with Constantine, who defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE.

Yes that is the same Maxentius whose name is attached to the huge basilica in the Roman Forum!

villa maxentius inside mausoleumAs well as exploring the outdoor ruins, you can also go inside the mausoleum

The buildings are made up of a palace, a mausoleum, and an enormous circus, which is still fairly intact.

The location of the Villa di Massenzio on the Appian Way makes it a perfect stop when you're visiting the other sites here, such as the catacombs, the Villa dei Quintilli, or just the Appia Antica itself.

At the time of writing, the circus and mausoleum are free to enter and open to the public, with work continuing on the remainder of the complex.

villa maxentius circus ruinsThe ruins that still exist give an indication of how huge the circus was when it was built!

Location and hours:

Via Appia Antica 153

Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00am-4:00pm

Military and war memorabilia museums

Museo Storico dei Granatieri di Sardegna - Historical Museum of the Granatieri

This fascinating collection of artifacts and photographs celebrates the great tradition of the Granatieri di Sardegna: the Grenadiers of Sardinia.

This famous fighting force holds a special place in the history of warfare in Italy, and a museum dedicated to these brave soldiers is undoubtedly deserved.

No fewer than 15 rooms in the magnificent building include exhibits such as weapons, a collection of photographs relating to the Great War, and items and artifacts donated by Grenadiers and their families.

Location and hours:

Piazza S. Croce in Gerusalemme 7

Monday to Friday: 9:00am-12:00pm

Museo Storico della Liberazione - Historical Museum of the Liberation

museo storico della liberazione entrance plaqueThe history of the German occupation of Rome during World War II is the focus of this free Rome museum

Among Rome's most profound and memorable museums is the Historical Museum of the Liberation.

Documenting the period of the German occupation of Rome, September 1943 through June 1944, and the subsequent liberation of the city by Allied forces, the museum showcases many poignant exhibits that leave a lasting memory.

The building that the museum occupies was used by the German SS in 1944 and was a place where many captured Italian Resistance members were tortured.

museo storico della liberazione cell displayIn the cells that were once used by the SS there are exhibits telling the story of the people who were imprisoned in them

Exhibits relating to the SS are in place, as are many that remind visitors of the persecution of Jews in Rome during this terrible period.

It's a very difficult museum to visit, at least for me, but well worth it if you have an interest in WWII history and Italy's place in it.

Not a pleasant museum in any way, but an important reminder of the horrors of war and a must-see for anyone interested in military history and WWII.

museo storico della liberazione war posterThere's a large collection of Italian posters from the war on display
museo storico della liberazione war posterThese posters provide us with a great deal of insight into life during the war

Location and hours:

Via Tasso 145

Open daily: 9:00am-7:00pm

Museo dello Shoah

Museo dello Shoah is a haunting exhibition of artifacts and pictorial memories relating to the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews in Rome during World War II.

This tiny, yet inspiring and fascinating, exhibition recounts (memorably and often in a horrifying way) an important and terrible period of Rome's history.

Free to enter and shocking in many ways, I recommend you visit museums such as this one to get a complete picture of the recent history of the Jewish people living in Rome.

Like the museum above, I have a very hard time visiting this location but it's very well done and worth visiting.

Location and hours:

Via del Portico d’Ottavia 29

Sunday-Thursday 10:00am-7:00pm, Fridays 10:00am-1:00pm, closed on Saturdays

Mausoleum of the Fosse Ardeatine

One of the most horrific events during the German occupation of Rome from 1943 to mid-1944 was the Ardeatine Massacre.

The mass murder of 335 Italian prisoners took place in response to a partisan attack on a German police battalion on 24th March 1944.

The prisoners were taken to the Ardeatine caves to the south of the city and shot in groups of five.

Today the caves are home to the bodies of the dead, and beneath the Mausoleum is an informative museum that outlines the historical events leading to the massacre.

A moving and sombre place, the Mausoleum is of great historical importance.

Each year the event is remembered in an official ceremony at the site where the 335 names are read aloud.

Location and hours:

Via Ardeatina 174

Monday-Friday 08:15am-3:15pm, Saturday and Sunday 08:15am-4:15pm

Museo della Repubblica Romana e della Memoria Garibaldina

Remembering the days of the Republic of Italy and the great Giuseppe Garibaldi, this excellent museum uses multi-media and traditional museum exhibits to explain the rich and fascinating history of Rome and Italy in the unification period.

Mainly focused on the uprising of 1848 and the attacks by the French in the following year, this important museum traces those difficult times and is informative and evocative.

This is a must-see museum for any visitors to Rome interested in history, particularly military history.

Location and hours:

Largo di Porta San Pancrazio

Tuesday to Friday 10:00am-2:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm

The History of Italy

Italy as a country has only officially existed since 1861 but its history stretches back far, far longer!

To understand more about how Italy came to exist and how it fared after unification, try reading this insightful book.

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

House museums - Places artists and collectors once lived, in their original state

Among the most interesting museums in Rome are several 'House Museums' celebrating the lives and times of famous and prominent persons.

These notable museums in Rome are all focused on specific people from history, providing a fascinating insight into the many people who have lived in Rome through the city's long history.

Museo Napoleonico (Napoleon Museum)

museo napoleonico napoleon bustNapoleon certainly made his mark on Rome and Europe as a whole!

With a collection of artifacts donated to the city by a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Napoleonic Museum is a wonderful insight into the history of one of the world's great leaders.

The collection is split into three ages, starting with the Napoleonic era and ending with the rise of the Second Empire.

museo napoleonico blue roomThe collection was started by Napoleon's distant cousin, Count Giuseppe Primoli, and is largely preserved as he intended it to be displayed

This important and interesting museum not only shows pictures and busts from the time, but also recreates the decor, fascinating for people who enjoy period interior design!

This is a great museum dedicated to the lives of a family with a very interesting history.

museo napoleonico staircase with exhibitsEverywhere you look there is Napoleonic memorabilia

Location and hours:

Piazza di Ponte Umberto I 1

Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm

Studio di Luigi Pirandello

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934, the great Italian writer and playwright Luigi Pirandello lived here and his studio has been turned into a museum and research center dedicated to his life and works.

Pirandello is famous for his novels, hundreds of short stories, and around 40 plays which are still put on today.

The original interiors and furnishings are intact, and many manuscripts and other items relating to this literary great are on display.

Booking in advance is essential, and a guide accompanies visitors.

Location and hours:

Via Antonio Bosio 13 B

Monday-Thursday 9:00am-3:30pm, Fridays 11:00am-7:00pm

Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen 

An American-Norwegian artist and sculptor, the house in which Hendrik Christian Andersen lived is now an excellent museum celebrating the life and times of a hugely interesting man.

Villa Helene, a building designed by the great man himself, is not something you'd associate with Rome, but this is a lovely free entry museum.

Andersen was famously dedicated to creating a 'World City', an almost utopian vision of a world of wonderful art.

This resulted in his famous 'World Centre of Communication', a hefty tome outlining the importance of art in society.

This house has a greatly informative and interesting collection that must be seen.

Location and hours:

Via Pasquale Stanislao Mancini 20

Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30am-7:30pm

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

An amazing Natural History Museum in Rome

Museo di Casal de ‘Pazzi

The extraordinary Museo di Casal de 'Pazzi is all about archaeological and geological history.

Consisting of a 1200 square meter patch of remarkably well-preserved Pleistocene deposits, it is a unique experience and a chance to view geological deposits from 200,000 years ago!

The museum features exhibits and interactive displays outlining how life would have looked during the Pleistocene era and gives an important insight into how life has evolved across millennia.

Nothing else is like this superb museum in Rome (or elsewhere), so if you are a natural history buff, be sure to check it out!

Reservations are required.

Location and hours:

Via Egidio Galbani 6

Tuesday-Friday 9:00am-2:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-2:00pm

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Free entry on the first Sunday of the month

colosseum wide view sunny skiesYes you can go inside the Colosseum for free one Sunday a month but be prepared for large crowds!

On the first Sunday of the month, you can also visit many state and city-run sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Castel Sant'Angelo, Capitoline Museums, and many more for free.

Also, on the last Sunday of most months, the Vatican Museums, usually closed on Sundays, are open and free.

The hours are limited and you can expect huge lines, but if it's the only day you have, just try getting there super early!

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