Night of the Museums in Rome (Notte dei Musei a Roma)
This Saturday night, as a part of the UNESCO European initiative to open the museums up at night, once a year, some of Rome’s most famous museums, cultural attractions and musical performances will be open all night until 2 am. Most of them will either have heavily discounted tickets (around 1€) or will be absolutely free for the Notte dei Musei. While of course you can head to some of the most famous spots around Rome, like the Capitoline Museums or the Ara Pacis, it’s also a great opportunity to check out Rome’s less visited museums and see a different side to the Colosseum-Forum-Vatican Museum circuit that everyone already knows. Here are some of my favorite under-the-radar museums for you visit either for this special event, or any time of year!
Monet exhibit in the Vittoriano:
The Vittoriano museum comes as an after-thought to most people visiting Rome however they consistently have great exhibitions and a convenient location in Piazza Venezia. It’s currently showing a Monet exhibit, which I still haven’t seen but this might be my chance.
Because it’s a little further out from the center (read: only accessible by bus or tram), Villa Torlonia, its park and museums, isn’t well known among tourists. While locals come to picnic on sunny days and for the frequent beer festivals held inside, there are also many museums located inside the park containing the statues and artwork taken from the original villa and Torlonia family. The cute little house on the property looks nothing like anything else in Rome, making it another interesting stop once you’re inside.
Well known as Rome’s modern art museum, the MAXXI is full of amazing works of art and cultural exhibitions. Recently there was a Pink Floyd exhibit and there are always new works rotating in. If you haven’t been to the MAXXI yet, do yourself a favor and avoid the €12 entrance fee by visiting tomorrow for the Notte dei Musei!
Il Senato della Repubblica (Palazzo Madama):
Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Italian Senate, is rarely open to the public. On the night of the museums, it’s open until midnight for visitors who want a peek inside the Italian government. After Saturday, May 19, it will open again on the June 2 for the Festa della Repubblica and again for two days in July and September.
Polo Museale Atac (Rome’s Transportation Museum):
Polo Museale Atac, with a variety of historic automobiles and trams and located in the Ostiense neighborhood, has a very different approach to usually stuffy museums. The infamous transportation company, ATAC, has its own municipal museum in an outdoor garden space, showcasing the history of trams and cars. Head here if you can’t stand traditional museum exhibits or if you’re interested in automobiles other vehicles.
Performances at the WEGIL:
If you’re looking for a free concert to attend, the WEGIL, a recently restructured building in Trastevere, will be hosting a series of concerts and theater performances all night, including a Gladiators play, a jazz concert and live orchestra.
Which museum are you planning to check out next? Let me know in the comments below!