I’ve got good news for you today! You can travel this year, even if you can’t get any further than your own doorstep! Come visit Rome through these great interactive virtual tours of Rome’s Civic Museums – the Capitoline!
The 8 Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums are really a single museum containing a group of 8 art and archeological museums. Located in Piazza di Campidoglio on top of Rome’s Capitoline Hill, it lays claim to being the world’s oldest museum! And holds to the noble goal of being a place where art can be enjoyed by all and not only the owners. Immerse yourself in history with these great interactive websites!
1. The three main buildings
Start with this virtual tour of the museum’s three main buildings: the Senate building, the Conservative building, and Palazzo Nuovo. Surrounding the Campidoglio Piazza with Marcus Aurelious on horseback in the center, they are linked by an underground gallery beneath the piazza. You’ll be sure to enjoy the numerous paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and other artifacts!
2. Ara Pacis Museum
The main attraction here is the Ara Pacis altar dedicated to Pax, the Roman godess of peace. Commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BC, It was intended to communicate the abundance and prosperity of Rome under the Emporer Augustus. The structure built around the altar wasn’t added until 1938. Click here for your virtual tour!
3. The Napoleonic Museum
This museum presents the collections of Count Giuseppe Primoli, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s descendents. Through works of art and various objects linked to the Bonaparte family, the Napoleone Museum recounts not only major historical events of the time, but also shows their day-to-day lives. Journey back in time with this virtual tour.
4. Trajan’s Market and Forum
The large complex of Trajan’s Market was once thought of as the world’s oldest shopping mall. We now know that these ruins on Via dei Fori Imperiali were also home to Emporer Trajan’s administrative buildings. The surviving buildings and structures create a living model of what life was like in ancient Rome’s capital. Discover all its treasures on this virtual tour.
5. Torlonia Museum
Torlonia once housed a collection of over 600 marble and alabaster statues. Described as the world’s most important private sculpture collection, it is said to rival the Vatican’s. In the 1960s the museum was dismantled, the artwork placed in storage, and the 77-room palace converted into an apartment building. But you can still tour the beautiful structure and some artifacts, by clicking here.
6. The Monte Martini Center
This part of the Capitoline Museums is beyond doubt the most unique, considering the fact that it is housed in a former power station. Some 400 sculptures are located in what was once Rome’s first public electricity plant. Take a virtual peep at this interesting and harmonious blend of art and industrial archeology!
7. Museum of the Walls
Another of the unique sections of Capitoline Museum, this one is actually located within the walls of the city gate, Porta San Sebastiano. A great exhibition of Roman building technics, this virtual tour grants the opportunity to walk along the inside of one of the best preserved sections of the Aurelian Wall. And if you ever make it to Rome in person, this museum is always free!
8. Museum of Rome
Founded during the Fascist era with the goal of documenting local history and traditions of the “old Rome.” Originally housed in a former pasta factory overlooking the Circo Massimo, it was closed down during WWII. Reopening in 1952 in Palazzo Braschi near Piazza Navona, it became primarily an art museum. Have a virtual look at its collection of some 5000 drawings, engravings, and old illustrated books.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of Rome’s civic museums. Isn’t it great to be travel without ever leaving your chair? And without having to spend a lot?!
Image credits: Roman forum | Capitoline | Ara Pacis altar by Rabax63, CC-BY-SA 4.0 | Trajan monument | Torlonia Museum by Carlo Morino, CC BY-SA 4.0 | Montemartini center | Museum of Walls | Museum of Rome.