The Art Lover’s Guide to 48 Hours in Rome
The Art Lover’s Guide to 48 Hours in Rome
Rome is truly an art lover’s paradise. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help art aficionados spend 48 hours in the city, exploring museums, art and architecture from contemporary collections to ancient classics. Whether you’re on a weekend visit or adding a couple of days after a business trip, use this curated list to discover Rome’s must-see art sites.
- Wake up in an Art Hotel
When in Rome, there’s no other place an art lover should rest their head than in the city’s best art hotel. The First Roma is a cross between a five-star hotel and a contemporary art gallery and set to add another cultural dimension to your art pilgrimage to Rome. Wake up face to face with a masterpiece with the work of Italian and international artists throughout the premises all curated by Galleria Mucciaccia. There are more than 150 contemporary works from young artists of the 20th century to discover during your stay!
- Stroll the Private Galleries of Via Margutta
After fueling up over a hearty breakfast, it’s a short walk over to Via Margutta, one of Rome’s most iconic cobbled streets where you can take the morning to have a stroll and explore its private galleries. The street has long been a haven for artists and if you’re lucky enough to time your visit with Cento Pittori di Via Margutta (100 painters of Via Margutta), an outdoor painting exhibition taking place twice annually, you can discover interesting works and meet with over 100 painters.
- Caravaggio and Canova at Borghese Museum
After a mid-morning coffee at one of Via Margutta’s espresso bars, head through the park and garden to your next destination: Museo e Galleria Borghese. This stunning Renaissance villa is home to a collection including the dramatic works of Caravaggio and sculptors Bernini and Canova. Booking the Borghese Museum in advance is mandatory, so be sure to reserve your tickets!
- Lunch in the Company of Masterpieces
No doubt all that art will have you working up an appetite. Luckily, you’re in Rome and won’t struggle to find a decent meal. Art aficionados should head to Ristorante Atelier Canova Tadolini (dia del Babuino 150/A) for lunch. This former workshop and museum allows you to dine on perfect pasta and tiramisu amid impressive sculptures, making for a dramatic lunch-time dining experience.
- National Gallery of Ancient Art
The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica is your next destination. One of the city’s more underappreciated galleries, this 17th Century palace has pieces by the likes of Lippi, Caravaggio, Raphael and El Greco housed under its impressive roof. Top tip: There’s free entry on the 1st Sunday of every month. A discounted combined ticket also gives you entry to the gallery’s sister site in Palazzo Corsini, Trastevere if you can squeeze it in.
- A Night Tour of the Vatican
For art lovers, the Vatican simply cannot be missed, but experiencing a night tour of the world’s smallest city will make your trip to Rome that much more unforgettable. On certain evenings throughout April – October each year, the Musei Vaticani opens its doors from 7 pm –11 pm to deliver a nocturnal art experience unrivalled the world over. See the Sistine Chapel by night, the and Galleries of the Candelabra, Tapestries and Geographical Maps, as well as Raphael’s Rooms, the Borgia Apartment and more. With only two days in Rome, touring the Vatican by night makes optimal use of your time, allowing you to squeeze in other galleries and lesser-known gems over your short visit. We recommend you plan your tickets ahead of time and note that the final entry on these evenings is at 9.30 pm.
- Contemporary Art at MAXXI
After the previous day’s feast of classical pieces, switch up your second day in the city with a morning of modern art. MAXXI is Rome’s national museum of contemporary art and a nice change from historic sightseeing. The stunning Zaha Hadid-designed building adds another element to the artistic culture of Rome and will leave you feeling inspired and in wonderment of its architecture.
- Caravaggio at Contarelli
Inside the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, you’ll find Contarelli Chapel, home to three not-to-miss pieces for Caravaggio fans. The trifecta of scenes from the life of Saint Matthew is made even more extraordinary by the impressive vaulted ceiling and calming ambience of the church (not to mention the free entry!).
- Step into Ancient Rome at the Pantheon
A short walk and a stone's throw from the Trevi Fountain, be sure not to miss the Pantheon, built in 80AD it represents an impressive feat of Roman engineering. Enjoy the many sculptures inside its domed interior as the lighting from the oculus roof changes the illumination of the entire room as the sun moves across the sky.
- Explore Cinecitta Studios
Art takes many forms and to expand your appreciation for other areas, it’s well worth visiting Cinecitta Studios. The home of Italian cinema, the museum explores the history of the studios and the movies made on site, and the backlot studio tour allows you to explore a range of sets and pose questions on all things Italian Cinema to your informative guide. Fans of Italian filmmakers like Fellini will find an enjoyable behind the scenes experience of where Italy’s most iconic movies were made, and anyone with an appreciation for the art form will learn something new about modern cinema.
- Create Your Own Masterpiece
As your 48 hours in Rome draw to a close, no doubt your creative juices will be flowing. Put that inspiration to canvas with a wine and art class. For amateurs and enthusiasts alike, what could be better than sampling delicious Italian wine, putting your inspiration into practice and creating your very own masterpiece to take home?
- Rooftop Finale
As your last evening in Rome comes to a close, it’s time to take in the city in all its glory. The rooftop AcquaRoof at The First Hotel Roma offers stunning, 360° degree, panoramic views of Rome. One of the best vantage points in the entire city, feel on top of the world with a sundowner cocktail in hand as you toast to the eternal city and bring your art-inspired trip to a perfect close.
What piece of art are you most excited to discover in Rome? Are there any other must-see exhibits or architectural wonders on your list? Let us know in the comments!