It’s a common prejudice. Even when I get a day off on Monday I start thinking “Oh everything is closed today, what am I going to do?”. False! There are many, many things to experience in Rome on Mondays. I drafted this list of activites for you, but also for myself and it turns out that Monday can be a very busy day!
So why there’s is such a prejudice? Because city and state owned museums and monuments are closed in Rome on Mondays, because most of the shops are only open in the afternoon and because many commercial art galleries rest the first day of the week.
But let’s start seeing what is there to do on Mondays from the main tourism sites.
Ok, we don’t need to state that all churches are open on Mondays and that clearly Rome’s squares, fountains etc are always open to the public. And we’ll just hint at the fact that Rome’s most famous landmarks are both regularly open on Mondays: the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum, Roman Forums, Palatine Hill compound.
If your thirst for ancient Roman art is not satisfied by the Forums you can also visit the Domus Romane of Palazzo Valentini, right next to Piazza Venezia.
While if you haven’t had enough of the Vatican Museums’ paintings and frescoes, there is a painting gallery open on Mondays, the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, hosted in the beautiful palace of one of Rome’s major families.
If you think you already paid too much for your Monday’s visits, there is a free landmark to explore. It’s the early 20th century Vittoriano building and its museums and exhibits, all free.
The same impressive white marble building also hosts a privately-run exhibit venue whose entrance is on Via di San Pietro in Carcere. They usually organize contemporary and modern art showings (admission fee).
The other exhibits open on Mondays in Rome are at the Angelica Library (free), Sala Santa Rita (free, usually photo exhibits), in Scuderie del Quirinale (entry fee, big art exhibits, some of the best in Rome), at Casa dell’Architettura, also known as Acquario Romano (free, architecture exhibits) and in the private gallery 10B Photography (free photo journalism exhibits).
Other permanent sites open on Mondays are MLAC, a recent contemporary art public space, run by Rome’s biggest state University, the museum of the Vatican’s Ministry for the missionaries, Museo di Propaganda Fide (only in the afternoon), the Santo Spirito in Sassia compound, next to the Vatican, Rome’s Zoo and the Old Trams and Trains Park (free admission), both perfect for your kids, and Villa Maraini, the Swiss Culture Institute’s palace, which boast the highest observation point in Rome – excluding the top of St Peter’s dome – (admission fee with guided tour in English) and the cinema studios of Cinecittà with guided tours in English at 11:30am and 4:30pm.
The foreign culture institutes and academies are all open on Mondays. Those with the most interesting programs of exhibits are the Japan Foundation (art & photo showings), the Spanish language institute Cervantes, which has a venue in piazza Navona (mostly photo exhibits), the Hungarian Academy, located in a stunning palace in one of Rome’s most beautiful streets, and the Romanian Academy.
Finally some commercial art galleries open on Mondays. We found more than 30, therefore we can’t list them all. We chose some of those which usually host the best exhibits and/or the most interesting artists, such as Co2 Gallery, Galleria Russo, Mondo Bizzarro Gallery (it also features a bookshop), Fondazione Pastificio Cerere and the gallery Marie-Laure Fleisch.