From Cairo to Tokyo, via Kathmandu, Mumbai and Beijing. The Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale truly is a little Asian gem in the heart of the eternal city. Besides the fact that I personally adore this place and try to come here as often as possible, this is actually a museum most Romans don’t even know exists.
Are you too sick of all the classicism, renaissance, baroque and company that Rome is crammed with? Okay, even if you’re not I would still highly recommend a visit to the museum of Eastern Cultures. Located very centrally, in the 19th-century Brancaccio palace (which btw also happens to be the last noble palace built in Rome) almost 20 different rooms are entirely dedicated to the arts and civilizations of the Orient, from the Middle East to Japan.
What this place also stands for, at least to me, is simply a different point of view to things, representing a very important counterbalance to the predominant western culture and arts, especially in a city like Rome.
So for a more than honest €6 (reduced only €3) you’ll find permanent exhibition pieces like a 1 meter-tall Buddha statue from the 8th century, or Japanese drawings from 1832 foretelling the first forms of Manga. Still the museum is always adding new pieces and there are also ever-changing temporary exhibitions.
Aaaand two small, though important details that I especially love, because they denote the spirit of the museum, is first the absence of a gift shop, and second the presence of a beautiful library.