The Museum of Musical Instruments of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia boasts one of the most important collections in Italy. The collection comprises more than 500 items including instruments, accessories, objects and heirlooms that bear witness to different musical cultures: five centuries of the history of music in Europe, Asia and Africa, along with ancient and modern classical music, popular music in Italy and non-European ethnic music.
The most important core of the collection constitutes instruments of the Italian violin-making tradition from the 17th to the 20th century. Prominent among them – in terms of quality of workmanship and historical importance – are a violin by Antonio Stradivari dated 1690 known as ‘il Toscano’, made for Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, and a mandolin and viola by the Roman luthier David Tecchler.
Also of particular interest are some examples of Roman mandoloni (a larger version of a mandolin) by Gaspar Ferrari, who invented the instrument. A very popular instrument in 18th-century Rome, it remains little-known. The collection is further enriched by the precious bequest from Margherita di Savoia consisting of her private collection of plucked string instruments.
The layout of the displays accompanies the visitor in a voyage of discovery of the finest and most significant pieces in the collection. The succession of shapes, materials and colours in the juxtaposition of the instruments makes it possible to grasp fully the technical and structural similarities of objects that belong to sometimes very different musical worlds. In a multicultural vision, traditions merge without losing their identity; on the contrary, they emerge and distinguish themselves through continuous and close comparison.
With the help also of audio-visual systems and multimedia and interactive stations, the presentation makes it possible to learn more about music from different points of view. Moreover, the museum organises a wide range of activities: guided tours; educational workshops for children and adults, schools and individuals; themed concerts; lectures and seminars; exhibitions. Admission to the museum is free during opening hours.
With the support of the Fondazione Musica per Roma.
From October to June, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
In July and September, open by appointment only for paid guided tours (minimum 8 people).
Closed on Thursdays and in August.
Please note that during special events the exhibition spaces may not be accessible to the public.