The Gallery of Paintings and Mosaics

Expanding spaces by creating trompe-l’oeil perspectives and fantasy landscapes: this was the sense of the decorations in the form of frescos, stuccoes and mosaics used in the sumptuous urban and suburban residences belonging to the emperors and members of high society in the Roman world. Palazzo Massimo dedicates an entire floor to some of the most exquisite masterpieces of pictorial and mosaic decoration from Roman art. Cycles of frescos and mosaics, taken from entire residential complexes, are displayed here in reconstructions of the original settings from which they were removed last century, making it possible to see them and experience them today in the spaces for which they were intended.

The Villa di Livia

A lush painted garden decorated the triclinium (dining room) of Livia, the wife of the Emperor Augustus, in her villa along the Via Flaminia. Laurel from the grove at the villa was used to create the triumphal crowns of the Roman Emperors.

The Mosaics

Tiny, multicoloured tiles of stone, marble and glass, expertly combined to create extraordinary floor decorations. The exceptional mosaic collection in the National Roman Museum is unique because of the incredible range of specimens and representations, covering a chronological period from the Republican era to the end of the Imperial Age.

The Villa Farnesina

With its scenic location on the Tiber, this villa was decorated with fine frescos and elegant mosaics, testimony to the art of the early Imperial Age.

The Villa di Termini

Discovered in 1862 during the works on Rome’s first railway station, these frescos illustrate the development of pictorial styles in the full Imperial Age.

The Great Columbarium of Villa Doria Pamphili

In the long walls of the burial building from the 1st century AD, landscape scenes alternate with burial niches for cinerary urns and inscriptions with the names of the dead.

The Opus Sectile Decorations

Marble, stones and coloured glass pieces, cut into very thin sheets, formed these highly prized wall and floor inlay decorations.