Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, or MACRO) holds one of Italy’s most important collections of works by contemporary artists in two dramatic industrial spaces. A particular delight for 21st-century art and architecture lovers, the sibling museum venues are sure to impress even the most skeptical art critics.
There are two MACRO spaces: the larger on Via Nizza is a former Peroni brewery surrounded by elegant 19th-century apartment buildings that was restored by French architect Odile Decq. The permanent collection here concentrates on modern art including sculpture, photography, and installations from 1960 to today. The art museum’s underground parking lot holds remains of an ancient Roman house discovered during renovation of the brewery. The second location, MACRO Testaccio—aka Il Mattatoio—is located in a retrofitted slaughterhouse and is an exhibition hall that opens only for temporary events. This space is a fascinating stop on any walking tour of the Testaccio neighborhood, once a working-class district and now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Rome. MACRO’s artworks and both buildings are highlights of Rome’s contemporary art and architecture tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Both MACRO venues are a must-see for lovers of contemporary art and architecture.
- The main MACRO museum has both a restaurant and a café, in addition to a shop.
- Large bags and backpacks, umbrellas, and pointed or blunt instruments of any kind must be checked at the cloakroom.
- Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
- MACRO is completely accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The main MACRO venue is located on Via Nizza in Rome’s Salario-Nomentano neighborhood. Buses 38, 80,60, 62, 82, 89, and 90 all stop in the vicinity. The MACRO Testaccio exhibition hall is located on Piazza Orazio Giustiniani in the Testaccio neighborhood. Tram 3 and buses 719, 170, and 781 stop nearby.
When to Get There
Both MACRO locations are open year-round but closed on Mondays. They often host temporary events and exhibitions, so it’s a good idea to check the upcoming program to see what is scheduled.
Rome’s other contemporary and avant-garde art museum is MAXXI, in the residential Flaminio neighborhood near Ponte Milvio and Villa Borghese. The building, designed in 2010 by Zaha Hadid, is considered a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, and houses a permanent collection of art and photography as well as prestigious temporary exhibitions.