Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali

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The Directorate-General of Museums has its headquarters in Rome, at the Monumental Complex of San Michele a Ripa.


via di San Michele, 22
00153 Roma

Phone / Fax

P +39 06 6723 4963
F +39 06 6723 4934


How to get here

  • By bus

    To reach the Monumental Complex of San Michele a Ripa by public transport (underground or bus) you can calculate the routes in real time at

    Type in “Piazza di Porta Portese” as reference for the itineraries. The nearest stops are: Porta Portese, Lungotevere Testaccio, Emporio, Viale Trastevere/Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione.

  • By train

    Termini Station is about 20 minutes away by car. The stations nearest to San Michele are Trastevere and Ostiense. For more information:

  • By plane

    Fiumicino airport is about 40 minutes away by car. There is a Regional train service from the airport to Trastevere station, where you can catch tram number 3 to Porta Portese.

    Ciampino airport is about 20 minutes away by car. There are scheduled bus services to the city centre. For more information:

The building

The monumental complex of San Michele is one of the most unusual places in the capital. Overlooking the Tiber, near Porta Portese and the Ripa Grande river port, it covers an area of over 27,000 m2 and is one of Italy’s largest buildings.


The initial plan for San Michele was by Carlo Fontana; it took 148 years to build and involved numerous other Italian architects (Nicola Michetti, Ferdinando Fuga, Nicolò Forti and Luigi Poletti). Built as an apostolic institute during the papacy of Innocent XI Odescalchi, San Michele was immediately considered in Europe as an innovative model of public assistance for the needy and disinherited. Its original function as a shelter was soon flanked by education activity, with the opening of an art school and a professional workshop (weaving, silk production, tapestry production, printing). San Michele kept delinquency down, offered shelter in a Rome suffering in the wake of the economic crisis in the second half of the 16th century, and gave the city’s “dropouts” a chance to regain a place in society, thanks to highly specialised professional training.

The “factory of San Michele” was a self-sufficient organisation: its economic sustenance came from the sale of craftwork and fees collected on the rental of storerooms and workshops to third-parties for commercial and crafting businesses.

The Institute closed after the Unification of Italy and the building was gradually abandoned and left to decay.

It was purchased by the State in 1969, restored and refurbished, and turned into the headquarters of certain Managerial departments and Institutions of the Ministry for cultural heritage and tourism.

Today, the Directorate-General of Museums occupies some offices on the 1st floor (Directorate-General and Department I) and on the 3rd floor (Department II) of the “Conservatorio dei Ragazzi”, the original nucleus created by Fontana, with Mattia De’ Rossi, around the main courtyard.