If you’ve ever been to Rome, you’ve surely been to Termini. Multiple times probably. Multiple uncomfortable, unpleasant times. You’ve almost certainly looked out over the zoo of Piazza dei Cinquecento (the square in front of the station with a million bus stops) and despaired at the concrete terribleness of it all, particularly in contrast to the loveliness of the rest of the city. But despair not! On the edge of that piazza is one of the best, most convenient, and least visited of Rome’s many lovely museums: the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, one of the Roman National Museums, and literally right around the corner from Termini.
And what do you get to see in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme? Well:
Why yes, that is the Boxer. And a righteous lady sculpture and a crocodile mosaic. Not bad.
And, you know, a crazy cool pegasus column thing (why yes, I am an art history PhD. Can’t you tell by my totally accurate descriptions?), erotic frescoes, and the Garden Frescoes from Livia’s villa at Prima Porta. No big deal.
The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is a good way to see a ton of totally worthy classical art without having to go to the Vatican or even the crowded Campidoglio museums. It’s super convenient, being right around the corner from Termini, mostly empty, well air-conditioned, AND if you buy a ticket to any national museum (which includes the Palazzo Altemps–which I’m realizing now I don’t have a post about because I actually went there in June 2011, but which I will rectify because it’s great, the Crypta Balbi and others) you get into the other ones–within a certain number of days, maybe 48 hours? I don’t remember–for free. Free is the absolute best you can do in a city where depending on the exchange rate a trip into the Vatican Museums costs between $22-25. BEST DEAL IN THE CITY. Good job Augustus!