Galleria Nazionale d’arte Moderna

The Galleria Nazionale d’arte Moderna is housed in a beautiful building near the Borghese Gardens. According to the museum’s publications, the building was created by Cesare Bazzani for the exposition celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Italian unification in 1911. The museum now holds the largest collection of 19th and 20th century artwork by Italian artists. Since the museum is not very well-known for tourists, I did not know what to expect.

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Limited information in English meant that for the most part I didn’t really know what I was looking at but I can tell you there is some beautiful artwork and the size of the museum’s collection is impressive! There were a few signs posted in various rooms explaining some of the significance of the artwork in that room. Additionally, the museum generally follows a chronological order, grouping together art from the same time period to make it easier to follow the transition of popular styles from naturalism to the avant-garde to impressionism.

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One of my favorite (and totally crazy) pieces of art was this hollow box with a mirror at the bottom which lights up when approached via motion sensors. The mirror reflecting the light made look like it was a bottomless well, when really it was no more than 2 feet tall. It was an optical illusion!

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So for visitors who have limited time in Rome, I would skip the Galleria Nazionale d’arte Moderna. But if you will be staying longer, I would recommend a trip to see the treasures of Italian artwork housed in the museum. Pairing a visit to the Galleria and to MAXXI makes for a lovely afternoon!

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