If your experience of classical art is rows of anonymous and noseless marble busts, headless torsos, and incomprehensible labels, the Museo Nazionale Romano will make a refreshing change and reveal the vitality of so much Classical sculpture.
There’s the proud Seleucid prince, more confident in his bronze nakedness than the rest of us could ever feel fully clothed, and a disconcerting bust of Julius Caesar with his toga pulled over his head. Best of all is the famous Olympian, every sinew tensely balanced as he prepares to unleash his discus.
Upstairs, you’ll get a tingle of excitement when the guide unlocks a double door and takes you to the gallery on the top floor. Entire rooms from the Villa of Livia on the Palatine Hill have been faithfully reconstructed. The mosaics and frescos have been so vividly realized, it’s as if the artist has only just finished work.
The collection in the Palazzo Massimo is the best part of Rome’s Museo Nazionale Romano, but your ticket will also get you into the nearby Baths of Diocletian, which includes the Aula Ottagona with its two bronze sculptures of great beauty. Both museums are near Rome’s Termini station, and would definitely top any list of good ways to kill time before your train.
Address Palazzo Massimo, Largo di Villa Peretti 1
Getting There The museum is 5 minutes’ walk from Rome’s principal train station, Termini. It’s also very close to the Repubblica metro stop, on Line A.
Opening Times 9am–7:45pm Tue–Sun.