Italy is famous for being home to some of the world’s greatest art. Ever since the days of Michelangelo, Italian artists have been at the forefront of traditional artwork. It’s not surprising, then, that Italy remains one of the best countries to visit for art museums.
There’s literally an art museum for every type of person in Italy. Wondering which ones are considered to be the best? These top ten rank highly among most tourists and art lovers alike.
The Uffizi Gallery
This isn’t just an art museum; it’s a historical landmark in its own right. The Uffizi Gallery is considered to be one of the oldest art museums in the world. Established in 1581, the Uffizi has been called a wonder of Rennaissance architecture, and it’s home to one of the finest art collections in Italy.
If you want to see works by masters like DaVinci and Michelangelo, this is the place to do it. You can even get to see The Birth of Venus alongside other world-famous paintings here. Guided tours are the norm, and it’s not uncommon to see art historians walking the grounds. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the reasons that Florence is on the map for art aficionados worldwide.
The Academy of Florence Gallery
Florence is a veritable Mecca for people who want to see the art from the masters. The Academy of Florence is considered to be one of the greatest art schools in the world, and yes, they have an art gallery that matches that reputation.
What makes this gallery so amazing, you ask? It’s home to the Statue of David, one of the most remarkable sculptures ever made. The gallery also features some of Michaelangelo’s unfinished works. You can get your skip-the-line ticket here.
The National Gallery of Umbria
If you’re not in Florence but want to see some more Rennaissance art, then the National Gallery of Umbria. Umbria’s gallery features gorgeous architecture and a handsome collection of works from geniuses like Angelico, Gozzoli, and Perugino.
Umbria’s gallery is focused on the artists that originated in Umbria and Perugina. The oldest paintings here date back to the 1200s, so it’s safe to say you’ll get a taste of history here. As one of the most popular places to go since the 1870s, you can rest assured you’ll get a fill of eye candy here.
The Venetian Academy Gallery
With all the artistic aesthetics that the city of Venice possesses, it’s not surprising that they also have one of the best art galleries in Europe here. The Venetian Academy Gallery hosts the largest collection of art from the golden age of Venetian artisans.
This gallery has a unique feature: it has all of its artwork placed in chronological order. So, viewers get to see how Venetian artwork continues to evolve from room to room! Like many other museums in this list, the Venetian Academy has a lot of history behind it—one which tour guides will happily tell you about. You can take a private tour of the museum.
If you’re a makeup aficionado, then you already know that the Borghese name was given to a line of upscale cosmetics. Art lovers, though, know that this is one of the best art museums in all of Italy.
This gallery is housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, one of the most luxurious villas in all of Rome. The art gallery gives people a remarkably detailed crash course in Italian art aesthetic. It also has an absolutely breathtaking garden exhibit right next door. Book a skip-the-line Villa Borghese Gallery & Gardens Small-Group Tour.
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The Doria Pamphilj Gallery
Are you a fan of truly striking Italian architecture? Gold walls accented with handpainted murals and stunning furniture? What about 18th-century artwork by some of the top names in history? If this appeals to you, the Doria Pamphilj Gallery is one of the best places you can go.
Housed in the palatial Doria Pamphilj, this gallery features great works by master painters like Raphael, Brueghel the Elder, and Tiziano. Literally everywhere you look, you’ll see a strikingly pretty statue, a perfect painting, or an amazing architectural feature.
Going to the Doria Pamphilj is a once-in-a-lifetime type of deal, book a private tour for your visit. You will be left breathless by the beauty that this mansion offers.
The Museum Of Contemporary Art
Is Italy mostly known for its massive impact on the Renaissance art scene? Absolutely. Is that all they have to offer in terms of museums? Absolutely NOT! If you are a huge fan of modern art, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the best places that you could choose to visit.
Inside these halls, you’ll find brand new pieces of artwork from up-and-coming artists in a variety of mediums. Whether you’re a fan of video, sculpture, or paint doesn’t matter. They’ll have something for you here. Heck, even the architecture is a modern art statement!
This is one museum that always is getting updated, so don’t be surprised if you see different things the next time you stop by Italy. Oh, and if you want to hang out with the hot and trendy of Italy? This is the best choice to go.
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The Vatican Museums
Don’t be fooled by the heavy Catholic vibe! The Vatican has some of the most impressive artwork the world has ever seen within its walls. Part of the Vatican’s allure is that the area has thousands of works of art and tens of thousands of books within its walls.
If you go through the series of museums featured inside the Vatican, you will be able to see a wide range of different artworks. These can include religious art (duh!), paintings of some of Italy’s most famous royals, as well as works from the top masters from almost every era since the Renaissance.
The Egyptian Museum
You might be vacationing in Italy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time to enjoy art from other cultures. As it turns out, Italy houses one of the largest Egyptian art museums outside of the actual country of Egypt. Naturally, it’s called the Egyptian museum, Museo Egizio in Turin.
Within the museum’s walls, visitors get to explore entire rooms filled with papyrus records, fascinating wall paintings from the tombs, as well as real-life mummies live on display. To make things even better, the museum hires a fleet of highly acclaimed Egyptologists to act as tour guides.
A major family favorite, the Egyptian museum is a must-see for anyone who’s ever wanted to discover the secrets of the pyramids.
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The National Museum of Castle Sant’Angelo
If you’re okay with crowds, then the National Museum of Castle Sant’Angelo is going to be a big treat for you. This ultra-popular castle is a blend of an art museum and a history museum. The museum starts with a walking tour of the castle and works of art from the medieval and Renaissance periods.
From there, you get to see how the castle’s architecture evolved as well as full suits of armor and more. It’s like taking a step back in time in the best way possible. Oh, and if you love medieval weaponry? Yeah, this is going to be your go-to. Get your Castle Sant’Angle priority entry ticket here.
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What To Know About Art Museums In Italy
If you are a tourist who wants to get the most out of their museum time in Italy, then you’re in luck. Many localities will have special deals that allow you to access more than one museum at a discounted price. Of course, actual discounts come and go depending on the season.
The most commonly-used discount trick is to use your EU citizenship to its full advantage. If you have EU citizenship, you can usually get discounted entry into the museum of your choice, even if you aren’t Italian.
Italy is a veritable wonderland of museums, which is why so many people choose to go to this country when they want to further their education or see work from the greats. If you’re the type of person who gets their breath taken away by fine art, then going to just one museum isn’t going to cut it.
Rather than just pick one of the top ten on our list, it’s often better to go to two or three. Many of these museums are perfect picks for a full day trip, so make sure to read up on each to find out which museum will have the pieces that you want to check out the most.