MAXXI is a convenient nickname for the more formally named National Museum of the XXI Century Arts. The gleaming new structure is dedicated to all forms of contemporary art and is the first of its scope in a city renowned for its antiquity.

Housed on a former military base, the elegantly angled building of curved concrete and steel was designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid. She crowned it with a glass ceiling to take advantage of Rome's abundant sun to provide natural lighting to the space. While it's a major contrast to Rome's predominant ancientness, the sinewy corridors opening into piazza-type galleries has echoes of Rome's natural, historic appeal.

MAXXI is actually two museums: the National Museum of Architecture, Italy's first which is dedicated to the 20th century developments in that field, and the Contemporary Art Museum, with its dynamic collection of permanent exhibits and rotating displays. It's not just walls of paintings; it covers all the arts,including theater, dance, music, fashion, graphics, film, photography, and advertising.

The museum cafe faces the modern-style piazza and offers seasonal, regional fare along with a calorie-conscious menu.

MAXXI is located north of Rome's historic center in the Flaminio district. Admission cost is €11. It is open from 11:00 until 7:00 (19:00), on Saturdays it extends its hours until 10:00 PM (22:00). Closed Mondays.

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Address in Rome:

Via Guido Reni, 6.

Ph. +39 063 210 181.

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