The Essential Guide to Rome’s MAXXI Museum

You don’t have to be a fan of ancient history to fall in love with Rome. The food, wine, people, and romantic atmosphere are sure to capture your heart no matter what. But of course, if you were looking for a museum to pass the afternoon in, where should you go?  The Vatican and the Capitoline are always the top recommendations. But if you are looking for something just a tad more modern? You might want to explore the MAXXI Museum in Rome.

Entrance of the maxxi museum
Zaha Hadid’s design was chosen from among 273 candidates from all over the world. Photo credit: Francesco Di Capua

What is the MAXXI Museum?

MAXXI stands for the very long name of “ Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo meaning, the National Museum of 21st Century Art. It was the first national museum dedicated to looking at the contemporary, rather than back into the past in Italy. It also includes the MAXXI Architettura, a museum dedicated to modern architecture. 

While it is a national museum, officially owned by the Italian Ministry for Culture, it is managed by a private Foundation. The Foundation works to highlight contemporary artists and provide a cultural campus where creativity can bloom. 

This means it isn’t just a museum. Rather, it’s an interactive space, hosting numerous activities including workshops, conferences, and more. They also have a research and education department, from which you can always expect intriguing events!

interior of maxxi museum
With the interior design Zaha Hadid wanted to blur the lines between the interior and exterior. Photo credit: Commonurbock23

History of the MAXXI Museum

In 1998, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage held an international design competition for a new contemporary art museum building. Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid entered a submission and won. The building site was formerly home to the Caserma Montello, a campus of military barracks. The museum took over ten years to build, and construction was finished in 2009. The building opened in 2010 and that same year, the museum received the Stirling Prize for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The MAXXI Museum Collection

MAXXI holds an extensive contemporary collection that spans over 400 works. Collected through donation, purchase, or even through production during its workshops and events. However, you won’t see these 400 items on display permanently. No visit to MAXXI is the same. The museum is consistently rotating the works and curating them into different themes. In addition, there is always a temporary exhibition which changes every few months. 

For visitors more interested in the architectural side of MAXXI, there is a collection of over 60,000 drawings and 75,000 photographs that can be accessed to study at any time.

Visiting the MAXXI Museum – Practical Info

Getting to the MAXXI Museum

While the location of MAXXI is a bit off the main tourist path, it’s fairly easy to get to. The best way to reach the museum is by taking Metro A to Flaminio and then grabbing Tram 2 to the stop Apollodoro. 

The main entrance is near Villa Borghese park, where you can enjoy the beautiful gardens before or after your visit.

green trees with lake and reflection of trees
Villa Borghese is the most popular park in Rome and is considered its green lung. Photo credit: Willi Bremen

Opening times

MAXXI is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 AM to 7 PM and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 8 PM.  You can enter up to one hour before closing.

Official Holiday closings are only on the 1st of May and the 25th of December, but keep an eye on their site to make sure there are no unforeseen closures.

Tickets to the MAXXI Museum

A standard ticket to the permanent collection or temporary exhibition is 12€. There are also combined tickets available for 22€. Anyone between the ages of 14-25 can access discounted tickets. These are 9€ for either the permanent collection or temporary exhibitions and 20€ for the combined ticket. Children under the age of 14 can enter free of charge. All ticket types are available for purchase online or at the museum’s ticket office. 

Did you happen to purchase a Roma Pass? In that case, your entrance to the MAXXI museum is covered! But you will need to book in advance by calling +39 06 32810, from Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., or you can write to [email protected]

library with windows and black stairs
The MAXXI library is a space devoted to consultation and study, specialized in the collection and conservation of bibliographical material about contemporary art and architecture. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

MAXXI Museum Guides

All entrance tickets include a free audioguide in multiple languages with further explanations of the exhibitions and history of the MAXXI. 

If you’re looking for a live guided tour, these are available for individuals and groups. To find out more about the cost, and make a reservation, write to [email protected] or call +39 3386419518.

Where to Eat

The museum offers both a cafè and a restaurant. The Palombini Cafe is a classic modern style Italian Cafè where you can enjoy a coffee, quick bite, or small aperitivo.

If you prefer a sit-down meal, er recommend the Mediterraneo restaurant. Enjoy a fusion meal of classic Meditteranean dishes with fantastic sushi additions to the menu. 

The award-winning staff includes chef Emanuele Pompili, and Francesco Di Cori, while sweets are made by Irene Tolomei. Irene was a finalist in Bake Off Italia – Dolci in Forno, so they are not to be missed!