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The Spiral Staircase in the Vatican Museums. The Spiral Staircase in the Vatican Museums. Wikimedia Commons

Italy's Most Historic Museums

It comes as no surprise that a country so rich in history also has a wealth of museums.

Italy is the birthplace of some of the most notable players in Western History, including the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church. Make the most of your cultural exploration by visiting some of Italy’s most historic museums. 

Galleria degli Uffizi - Florence

Some of the most famous works of Western art find their home in The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, one of the world’s oldest museums. The gallery, which has welcomed visitors since 1765, houses an extensive collection of sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages through the modern period. A visit to the 16th century palace promises access to key works from the Italian Renaissance, including ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli, and ‘Annunciation’ by Leonardo da Vinci.

Uffizi Gallery 1

Musei Vaticani - Rome

The Vatican Museums were founded in the early 16th century and trace the history of the Roman Catholic Church through an immense collection of art. The museum complex displays a range of treasures, from sculpture, to paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Caravaggio, to the Sistine Chapel. With such a comprehensive collection, you may struggle to enjoy the galleries in a single visit.

Vatican Museums 1

Related: Living Through the Art of Italy

Museo Archeologico Nazionale - Naples

Greek, Roman and Italian history meet at the National Archaeological Museum located in Naples, one of the oldest cities in the world. Italy’s most important archaeological museum preserves gems from the Farnese Collection, ancient Roman bronzes from the Villa of the Papyri and mosaics from the ruins of Pompeii. The museum also boasts a collection of about 2,500 Egyptian artifacts and the Secret Cabinet, a large collection of erotic Roman art.

National Archaeological Museum 1

Museo Egizio - Turin

Turin’s Egyptian Museum is focuses solely on Egyptian art and culture, with a collection of more than 30,000 Egyptian artifacts. The museum’s collection of Egyptian antiquities falls short only to that of the Museum of Cairo. The collection includes the ‘Turin Royal Canon,’ a document of kings and their reigns listed in hierarchical scripts and the ‘Turin Papyrus Map,’ the oldest surviving map from the ancient world.

Egyptian Museum 1

For more on what to do in Italy, visit our Destinations page