7 Incredible Art Museums in Italy

Italy’s Must-See Museums

    Italy is a country famous for its art. The history of this beautiful place is steeped in grandiose architecture adorned by artistic embellishments second to none. Even back in the Ancient Roman times, Italy took architecture and artwork to an entirely new level. Some of the world's most famous artists are Italian, and some of the world's most famous museums remain in Italy, housing – you know where I'm going with this – some of the world's most famous artwork! Italy is much more than food and wine, though that's fantastic, too. Let's check out seven of Italy's incredible art museums; we'll stop for sustenance afterward!

    1

    The Vatican Museums

    Pope Julius II founded the Vatican Museums in 1506, and they are the most visited museums in all of Italy. The Vatican's sacred grounds house Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel; Raphael's Rooms; artwork by Renaissance masters Caravaggio, da Vinci, Giotto, Lippi, and Perugino; a modern and contemporary art gallery; a gallery of tapestries dating as far back as the 15th century; a gallery of maps dating as far back as 1572; and countless sculptures by, again, masters of the Renaissance period. If you have Vatican City on your itinerary, which you should, make sure to set plenty of time aside to see all of the breathtaking artwork within the Vatican Museums.

    Location: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Rome, Italy

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 9am to 4pm (closed on Sunday)

    Phone: +39 06 6988 4676

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    2

    The Borghese Gallery

    Also located in Rome, the Borghese Gallery is a 17th-century villa built by Flaminio Ponzio. This storied villa has an extensive collection once belonging to its Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Included in the Cardinal's collection are several Bernini sculptures, he was a huge Bernini fan, as well as Bernini's 1623 self-portrait; a collection of paintings by Renaissance master Caravaggio; some Raphael works; an ancient and Western instrument gallery featuring Egyptian, Greek, and Roman musical instruments; and a modern art gallery and Etruscan museum on the villa grounds. Don't just show up the Borghese Gallery, they won't let you in without reservations!

    Location: Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Rome, Italy

    Open: Tuesday – Wednesday and Friday - Sunday from 9am to 7pm, Thursday 9am to 9pm (closed on Monday)

    Phone: +39 06 841 3979

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    3

    The Uffizi Gallery

    Let's head over to Florence for our next museum. Built in 1581, the Uffizi Gallery is considered an architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance period. If you know anything about Italian history, you know the Medici family, and a huge chunk of their art collection is now displayed in the Uffizi. Rumor has it that a couple of well-known artists by the name of… oh… da Vinci and Michelangelo found inspiration in Uffizi's beauty… Wow! Not much more to say there. The gallery displays some of their artwork and many other masterpieces of the time. Make sure you check out the Uffizi Gallery; it's pretty incredible!

    Location: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, Florence, Italy

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 8.15am to 6.50pm

    Phone: +39 (0)55 294883

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    4

    Academy of Florence Art Gallery

    While in Florence, you absolutely must see the most famous statue in the world: Michelangelo's David The original statue is on display at the Gallery of the Academy of Florence. Aside from David and an extensive collection of Renaissance art, the Academy of Florence Art Gallery also displays an impressive collection of Florentine Gothic artwork. If you are an artist, you might want to take a look at a few unfinished Michelangelo pieces the gallery has on display and imagine how you would complete the master's sculptures.

    Location: Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Florence, Italy

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday 8.15am to 6.50pm (closed on Monday)

    Phone: +39 055 238 8609

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    5

    Bargello National Museum

    Let's stay in lovely Florence for one more museum and visit the Bargello National Museum. This museum isn't a piece of glorious architecture or an Italian leader's former home. Nope, the Bargello National Museum used to be a prison, and it dates all the way back to 1225. Personally, I think visiting the museum itself just to see such an old prison is actually rather cool, but you also need to visit the Bargello National Museum because it houses some amazing sculptures by Donatello.

    Location: Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Florence, Italy

    Open: Daily 8.15am to 4.20pm

    Phone: +39 055 238 8606

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    photo by Paolo Villa (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    National Gallery of Umbria

    Perugia, Italy is home to the National Gallery of Umbria. If there is one thing Italy has a ton of, it's Renaissance art, and it needs to be seen! Many call Florence the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance art movement, but if you're looking for the true birthplace, you need to check out the Umbria National Gallery. Housed within Umbria's walls are Renaissance paintings dating back as far back as the 1200s, most of which were painted in Tuscany and Umbria. Featured artists include Angelico, Duccio, Francesco, Gozzoli, and Perugino.

    Location: 19, Corso Pietro Vannucci, 06123 Perugia, Italy

    Open: Monday 12pm to 7.30pm, Tuesday - Sunday 8.30am to 7.30pm

    Phone: +39 075 5866 8415

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    7

    Academy Gallery in Venice

    What is a trip to Italy without visiting Venice? Once you're finished taking gondola rides throughout the city's canals, head over to Venice's Academy Gallery, which is considered by many to be one of Europe's truly great museums. Venetian art is an art class unto itself, and the Venice Academy Gallery is home to many great Venetian works dating from the 13th century all the way up to the 18th century. What's nice about this gallery is it exhibits the artwork in chronological order, so you can see how Venetian art has transformed throughout the centuries. Check out the works by Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, and Tintoretto when visiting Venice's Academy Gallery!

    Location: Campo della Carita, 1050, 30123 Venice, Italy

    Open: Monday 8.15am to 2pm, Tuesday - Sunday 8.15am to 7.15pm

    Phone: +39 041 522 2247

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    photo by José Luiz (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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