Rome’s Palazzo Massimo alle Terme (Museo Nazionale Romano)

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is one of the four museums of the Museo Nazionale Romano. (The others are the Baths of Diocletian, Palazzo Altemps and the Crypta Balbi). We were lucky enough to have this gem almost to ourselves, having made the decision to drop in for the last two hours before closing on a Saturday evening.

The building contains a wealth of ancient sculpture, mosaics and frescoes taken from villas around Rome (including the wonderful wall paintings from Livia’s villa at Prima Porta). The site is near Termini and, as much of the area was cleared for new building work following Italy’s unification, ancient treasures were revealed.

So this is a place with many wonderful sights – I’ll let them speak for themselves…

A colourful (and apt for this blog) Minerva greets visitors to the building.


Some gorgeous Greek bronzes including the boxer …

And frescoes from villas across Rome and beyond..

The wonderful second style garden fresco from Livia’s villa at Prima Porta is an ancient wonder, and one of the earliest surviving depictions of a garden…

The Lancelotti Discobolus was discovered in the Esquiline area of Rome in 1871, and is a copy of a Greek original. Other marble marvels include Antinous and the sleeping hermaphrodite.

And this sarcophagus dating from the 2nd Century AD was simply breathtaking. Known as the Portanaccio Sarcophagus, it depicts both family life and the likely battles of its soldier owner.

An insight into Roman daily life also comes from the mosaics on display, including depictions of the four colourful factions involved in the city’s racing culture.

Have you been to Palazzo Massimo? What was your favourite display there?


  1. Palazzo Massimo is a dream for an archeology nerd like me. I love the boxer, and was captivated by all the different hairstyles on the busts. it is also a great, air conditioned place to spend a hot summer day! Ciao, Cristina

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