- The Vatican Museums: Rambling, disorganized, and poorly labeled they might be, but these buildings are packed with treasures accumulated over the centuries by the popes. There's the incomparable Sistine Chapel, such priceless ancient Greek and Roman sculptures as Laocoön and the Belvedere Apollo, rooms whose walls were almost completely executed by Raphael (including his majestic School of Athens), and endless collections of art ranging from (very pagan) Greco-Roman antiquities to Christian art by European masters.
- Galleria Borghese: One of the world's great small museums reopened a few years ago after a 14-year restoration breathed new life into the frescoes and decor of this 1613 palace. That's merely the backdrop for the collections, which include masterpieces of baroque sculpture by a young Bernini and paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.
- National Etruscan Museum: Mysterious and, for the most part, undocumented, the Etruscans were the ancestors of the Romans. They left a legacy of bronze and marble sculpture, sarcophagi, jewelry, and representations of mythical heroes, some of which were excavated at Cerveteri, a stronghold north of Rome. Most startling about the artifacts is their sophisticated, almost mystical sense of design. The Etruscan collection is housed in a papal villa dating from the 1500s.
- Palazzo Altemps: A branch of the Museo Nazionale Romano contains some of the best Roman art anywhere, including the fabled Ludovisi Collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. Look for such masterpieces as the Grande Ludovisi, carved from a single block and dating from the 2nd century A.D.
- Museo Capitolino: At the magnificent Piazza del Campidoglio, laid out by Michelangelo, this museum complex houses some of the world's most important sculptures, including The Dying Gaul, a copy of a Greek original from the 3rd century B.C., and the Capitoline Venus, even the famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. More classical sculpture and paintings are found in the Palace of the Conservatori across the way.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.