The National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo is one of best museums in Rome, and perhaps the exhibition space which best reflects the history of Rome. While the museum itself is dominated by Greek bronzes, Roman marbles and intricate mosaics, the National Roman Museum restaurant at Palazzo Massimo is also worth a visit for gourmet dining with a view.
Read on for a full review of the National Roman Museum visit and menu and prices for the National Roman Museum restaurant, which is called Livia Restaurant.
National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo
The National Museum of Rome at Palazzo Massimo is the closest museum to Termini train station, making it a convenient place to visit. It forms part of a cluster of four important museums in Rome which reflect the history of the city. These are Palazzo Altemps, Baths of Diocletian, Crypta Balbi and Palazzo Massimo.
The permanent exhibition at Palazzo Massimo has been likened to leafing through the pages of a history book dedicated to Rome. Here, you will find some of the most important examples of Greek and Roman art in the whole world. A visit to Palazzo Massimo also represents an exploration of the treasures of the long lost Roman villas, which have been collected and remarkably preserved here.
The National Roman Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11.00 to 18.00. The ticket office closes at 17.00.
In terms of ticket prices, a combined ticket for access to all four National Roman Museum sites costs €12 (reductions €8) and is valid for a week. A ticket just to enter the National Museum of Rome at Palazzo Massimo costs €8 (reductions €2). This makes it one of the best value museums in the city and a must-see if you are interested in exploring the history of ancient Rome.
National Museum of Rome: visit review
The National Museum of Rome at Palazzo Massimo is a great choice when you want an indoor dive into the history of the city of Rome. This air-conditioned museum is a perfect way to get close up to Roman-era art and sculpture, whether it is raining outside, or blazing hot sunshine.
Most of the National Rome Museum’s artifacts are Roman-era sculptures, mosaics and frescoes.
Romans often picked up works of art on their travels in antiquity, frequently bringing Greek bronzes back to the Eternal City, where local artists would copy them into marble.
Palazzo Massimo contains a couple of really important Greek bronze statues, depicting Athenian sporting heroes. There are also marble, Roman-era copies of the discobolus, a disc-throwing Greek sportsman, including two Lancellotti Discobolus figures. Other magnificent sculptures here that were found in private Roman villas include the Girl from Anzio and the Statue of Ludovisi Hermes.
The portrait gallery at the National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Massimo, includes public and private figures carved into marble busts, while there are also striking statues from Rome’s Republican Age. Between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, sculpture was used to convey the faces of the ruling classes in honorary and funerary statues, and many of them are remarkably preserved at the National Museum of Rome.
Finally, if you are interested in home decor and the lavish Roman villas of the past, there are many fine examples of mosaic art and wall and ceiling decoration, such as extraordinary frescos that were used to embellish fine Roman homes. One such fresco, dubbed Livia’s garden, is a remarkable green oasis which really captures the imagination. The name of this masterpiece has inspired the new restaurant at the National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Massimo, entitled Livia Restaurant.
National Roman Museum Restaurant and Cafe review
The National Roman Museum has both a restaurant and cafe which are definitely worth your time. Read on for a review of the National Roman restaurant and the house cafe!
Caffetteria Massimo review – Palazzo Massimo
The cafe, called Caffetteria Massimo, is open from 7am until about 2pm, serving breakfast and lunch. For lunch every day, expect a different first course dish, including pasta, hearty soups and risottos. These change according to seasonal ingredients and tastes. On the regular lunch menu at Caffetteria Massimo every day, expect to find yummy fried goodies from the Roman tradition, including suppli, potato croquettes, deep-fried cod and fried zucchini flowers priced from €2-€4. You will also find a classic beef and a veggie burger, served with chips, and priced at an affordable €12 and €10 respectively. If you’re looking for something less traditional, Caffetteria Massimo also serves delicious salads and bowls. These include a spicy chicken salad, a barley and turmeric zucchini and aubergine bowl, and a wholemeal rice salad with smoked salmon. These are priced between €8-€12.
If you’re in a rush and want lunch on the fly at Caffetteria Massimo, there are also affordable sandwiches on sale, ranging from €5 to €7.50 for the most gourmet fillings (such as roast octopus or creamed baccala).
National Roman Museum: Livia Restaurant review
If you fancy dining in an original and very centrally located restaurant in Rome, then Livia Restaurant at Palazzo Massimo may be the right choice for you. Livia Restaurant at Palazzo Massimo launched in early April 2022 in a brand new restaurant space on the first floor of the National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo. Representing a cosy spot in the winter, it is also a great choice for dining in summer, due to its gorgeous outdoor terrace with views across Piazza Republica. Livia Restaurant at the National Roman Museum serves food from chef Fulvio Penta, who combines seasonal Italian ingredients with flavours from further afield.
On my visit to Livia Restaurant at Palazzo Massimo, dinner including a lovely pasta course of fettuccine with a savoury veal and artichoke sauce (€14). I also tried the fillet of Black Angus with a potato rosti (€22), and a tasty layered pastry and fruit coulis dessert called a diplomatico (€4). This was served with local Italian wines – the list of wines and champagnes is excellent.
Livia Restaurant is an elegant yet cosy space on the first floor of a stunning museum, making it an unusual and impressive restaurant for a date or a special dinner with a difference. While the mood is gourmet, you can also order burgers priced between €11 and €14 so it doesn’t have to be a prohibitively expensive experience.
Overall, this is a great restaurant in Rome to have up your sleeve when in the Termini area, when in search of something a little different, or after a visit to the National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo.
National Roman Museum | Palazzo Massimo alle Terme | Largo di Villa Peretti, 2 | Rome
Testaccina was a guest of Livia Restaurant at the National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo