Museums in Italy

Museo Correr

The Museo Correr has rich and varied collections of art and history of Venice. The Museo Correr originated with the collection bequeathed to the city of Venice in 1830 by Teodoro Correr. A member of a traditional Venetian family, Correr was a meticulous and passionate collector, dedicating most of his life to the collection of both works of art and documents or individual objects that reflected the history of Venice. Up ...
Founded: 1830 | Location: Venice, Italy

Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) are a single museum containing a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill. The historic seats of the museums are Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, facing on the central trapezoidal piazza in a plan conceived by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536 and executed over a period of more than 400 years. The history of the muse ...
Founded: 1734 | Location: Rome, Italy

Gallerie dell'Accademia

The Gallerie dell'Accademia is a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice. The former Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia was founded in 1750. In 1807 the academy was re-founded by Napoleonic decree and moved to the Palladian complex of the Scuola della Carità, where the Gallerie dell'Accademia are still housed. The collections of the Accademia were first opened to the public in 1817. The Gallerie dell’Accadem ...
Founded: 1750 | Location: Venice, Italy

Arsenal Of The Maritime Republic

The structure of the arsenal consists of two large stone-built halls with vaulting supported by repeated pointed arches. The vaulting rests on ten piers, originally there were twenty two, the missing twelve and the structure they supported having been lost to centuries of coastal erosion. The main function of the arsenal was the building, repair and storage of warships. Amalfitan war-galleys were among the largest to be f ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Amalfi, Italy

Gallerie di Piazza Scala

The Gallerie di Piazza Scala is a modern and contemporary museum in Milan. Located in Piazza della Scala in the Palazzo Brentani and the Palazzo Anguissola, it hosts 195 artworks from the collections of Fondazione Cariplo with a strong representation of nineteenth century Lombard painters and sculptors, including Antonio Canova and Umberto Boccioni. A new section was opened in the Palazzo della Banca Commerci ...
Founded: 2011 | Location: Milan, Italy

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is an important Italian archaeological museum, particularly for ancient Roman remains. Its collection includes works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, and especially Roman artifacts from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. The building was built as a cavalry barracks in 1585. From 1616 to 1777 it was the seat of the University of Naples. During the 19th ...
Founded: 1777 | Location: Naples, Italy

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

The National Roman Museum is a museum with several branches in separate buildings throughout the city of Rome. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses part of the National Roman Museum, one of the world’s greatest collections of ancient art. It provides a magnificent showcase for some of the most beautiful paintings, mosaics and sculptures of the Roman age. One room is devoted to the mummy that was found in 1964 on the Via ...
Founded: N/A | Location: Rome, Italy

Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. The convent on the site passed to the Jesuits (1572), then underwent a radical rebuilding by Francesco Maria Richini (1627–28). When the Jesuits were disbanded in 1773, the palazzo remained the seat of the astronomical Observatory and the Braidense National Library foun ...
Founded: 1776 | Location: Milan, Italy

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building is integrated with its gardens. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605-1621). The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Rome, Italy

Murano Glass Museum

The Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) represents the the history of famous local Murano glass. The palace was the residence of the bishops of Torcello. It was originally built in the Gothic style as a patrician"s palace. The building became the residence of Bishop Marco Giustinian in 1659. He later bought it and donated it to the Torcello diocese. The Glass Museum was founded in 1861. The collection of the mus ...
Founded: 1861 | Location: Venice, Italy

Tempio Voltiano

The Tempio Voltiano is a museum in the city of Como, Italy that is dedicated to Alessandro Volta, a prolific scientist and the inventor of the electrical battery. Volta was born in Como in 1745, held his first professorship there until 1779, and retired to Como in 1819. The neoclassical building was designed by Federico Frigerio (1873–1959). It was completed in 1927 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the scientist& ...
Founded: 1927 | Location: Como, Italy

National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum of Cividale del Friuli is known for the high medieval archaeology, particularly with regard to the art Lombard. It is housed in the Palace Pretorio. It was founded at the Palais de Nordis in 1817 by count Michele della Torre Valsassina, before being transferred in 1990 at the Palace Pretorio in Duomo square. The present palace is attributed to Andrea Palladio and was built between 1565 and ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Cividale del Friuli, Italy

Museo di Capodimonte

Museo di Capodimonte is an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important ancient Roman sculptures. It is one of the largest museums in Italy. The vast collection at the museum traces its origins back to 1738 ...
Founded: 1738 | Location: Naples, Italy

Merano Municipal Museum

Merano Municipal Museum has already been opened in 1900, it is one of the oldest museums of the province. In that period Franz Innerhofer (1847 - 1918), a physician of Merano, collected Gothic figurines and Baroque paintings of Tyrolean masters with passion. In this way he laid the foundations for the museum. First housed in the building of the English Ladies along the Winter Promenade, the Merano Municipal Museum was tra ...
Founded: 1900 | Location: Meran, Italy

Museum Correale

Museum Correale is situated in a patrician villa, surrounded by a citrus grove, with a terrace of Belvedere that overlooks the Gulf of Naples. The villa is owned by Pompeo and Alfredo Correale, the last descendants of the family. The museum exhibits collections of Neapolitan painters dating from the 17th and 18th century. It contains valuable Capodimonte and Sèvres ceramics, Murano glassware, Bohemia cryst ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Sorrento, Italy

Risiera di San Sabba

Risiera di San Sabba is a five-storey brick-built compound located in Trieste, that functioned during World War II as a Nazi concentration camp for the detention and killing of political prisoners, and a transit camp for Jews, most of whom were then deported to Auschwitz. SS members Odilo Globocnik and Karl Frenzel, and Ivan Marchenko are all said to have participated in the killings at this camp. The cremati ...
Founded: 1913 | Location: Trieste, Italy

Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti di Bergamo

The Accademia Carrara is an art gallery and an academy of fine arts in Bergamo. The origins of the art gallery lie with the Count Giacomo Carrara, a wealthy collector and patron of the arts, who left a generous legacy to the city of Bergamo at the end of the 18th century. After the Count's death, in 1796, his properties were managed by a nominated commissary until 1958, when the Comune di Bergamo took over direc ...
Founded: 1810 | Location: Bergamo, Italy

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology was specifically established in 1998 to house 'Ötzi', a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC. This is the world"s oldest natural human mummy. It has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) European culture. The world"s oldest complete copper age axe was found among his extensive equipment which also comprised a rather complex fir ...
Founded: 1998 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Regional Archaeological Museum

The upper floors of the Regional Archaeological Museum in Aosta house prestigious exhibitions. The building was founded in 1633 by the marquis Pierre-Philibert Roncas and by his wife Emérentienne de Vaudan. Towards the half of the 18th century the monastery assumed the present appearance. The paintings on the façade (of the 19th century) reproduce the coat of arms of the Savoy House and the portraits of the main charact ...
Founded: 1633 | Location: Aosta, Italy

Aquileia Archaeological Museum

The original nucleus of the Archaeological Museum of Aquileia is the eighteenth-century Bertoli collection. The opening of the present venue at villa Cassis by the Austrian government dates back to 1882, whereas the final arrangement occurred after the Second World War. The finds on display, which date back to the Roman age and all come from local excavations, are really remarkable. Among the most valuable pieces of ...
Founded: 1882 | Location: Aquileia, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.