5 Important Works of Art to See in Rome

A trip to Rome is a pleasure for so many reasons. For those who love art, there is an abundance to see in churches museums and piazzas.

Some of the most beautiful sculptures and paintings in Rome can be seen in the Villa Borghese. The villa and its park were designed in 1605 for Cardinal Scipione Borghese who had the house designed for pleasure and entertainment. It was the first of its kind in Rome with the he gardens laid out by Pietro, the father of Bernini, and the fountains by Giovanni Fontana. It was open to the public as it is today, but now the museum is divided into two sections, the Museo Borghese which has Bernini’s wonderful sculpture of Pluto and Persephone, with Pluto carrying off his bride and the upper floor, and the Galleria, which houses the art collection.

The Vatican Museums has some of the world’s most important art collections. The Sistine Chapel, is the main chapel in the Vatican Palace and the walls were frescoed by artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo in the 15th and 16th century. The painting of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and the ceiling of the chapel are just two of the masterpieces along with frescoes by Raphael and Perugino.

The basilica of St. Peter’s is another treasure trove of precious works of art. Some were salvaged from the original basilica while others were commissioned from Baroque and Renaissance artists. The enormous dome was the work of Michelangelo while the Baldacchino, or the canopy that covers the Papal Altar is the work of Bernini in the 17th century. Michelangelo was also responsible for the famous marble statue, La Pieta, which is now behind glass after an attack in 1972.

Away from the Vatican, the Palazzo Corsini houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. This collection has paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Murillo, Caravaggio and Guido Reni. It also has 17th and 18th century paintings by Italian regional artists.

The Capitoline Museums, situated at the Capitol, the citadel of ancient Rome is a must see for every visitor to Rome, art lover or not. A broad flight of steps, the Cordonata, leads up to Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio and is surrounded by the Plazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which houses the Capitoline Museums. The museums have a fine collections of sculptures and paintings which date from ancient Rome to the Victor Emmanuel Monument of the 20th century.

No matter where you are in Rome, there will always be a famous piazza with a well-known sculpture or a galleria close to hand. Any stay in one of the many Rome apartments for rent will guarantee a proximity to artwork in one form or another. The difficulty will be in making the choice, there is such a wide range, that it may be you will have to book another trip to see all that you missed the first time round.