News Flash: Take that, Paris! Italy is upping its culture game with several new initiatives to promote Italian museums. For two days, September 25 and 26, state-run culture sites (archaeological, artistic and historical, architectural, archive and library, cinema, theater and music) will be free to all visitors in honor of European Heritage Day 2010. This may be the best time to visit some old favorites, like the Colosseum (crowds, beware) and Galleria Borghese, or take in new museums such as Palazzo Massimo with amazing in situ 2nd century AD frescoes or cutting edge contemporary art at the MAXXI.
In addition to European Heritage Day, Rome has been keeping its doors open at night with Friday night visits to the Vatican Museums, Saturday evenings at the Colosseum and Baths of Caracalla and now, Tuesdays in Art– late evening hours for state-run museums like the classic sculpture collection at Palazzo Altemps and the newly-opened Palazzo Barberini with its lovely Fornarina by Raphael. My suggestion? Make next Tuesday an evening under the oculus of the Pantheon.