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"Naples - Museo Archeologico Nazionale" Italy Things to Do Tip by Willettsworld

Italy Things to Do: 1,468 reviews and 2,255 photos

  Farnese Hercules
by Willettsworld
  • Farnese Hercules - Italy
      Farnese Hercules
    by Willettsworld
  • Farnese Bull - Italy
      Farnese Bull
    by Willettsworld
  • The Battle of Alexander mosaic - Italy
      The Battle of Alexander mosaic
    by Willettsworld
  • The Secret Cabinet - Italy
      The Secret Cabinet
    by Willettsworld
  • Egyptian collection - Italy
      Egyptian collection
    by Willettsworld

One of my favourite museums in Italy, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale is one of the world's most important archaeological museums. The building started life in the late 1500's as the home of the royal cavalry and was rebuilt in the early 17th century as the seat of Naples university. In 1777, when Ferdinand IV transferred the university to the former monastery of Gesu Vecchio, the building was again adapted to house the Real Museo Borbonico and library. In 1860 it became public property when Italy was unified and was renamed "National Museum". The 1980 earthquake caused much damage to the collections.

The museum contains the Farnese collection of sculpture as well as finds from Pompei, Herculaneum and Stabiae. The Museum also has a particularly rich collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, deriving both from the excavation of various sites - above all around Vesuvius and in the Phlegrean Fields.

The Farnese Hercules, was made by Glykon of Athens and is an enlarged copy of a sculpture by the Greek master Lysippus. The Farnese Bull was excavated in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, and is the largest sculptural group (c. 200 BC) to have survived from antiquity. It is the best piece in the Farnese Collection and shows the punishment of Dirce who, having ill-treated Antiope, was tied to an enraged bull by Antiope's sons.

One of the highlights from Pompei is the splendid mosaic from the House of the Faun which depicts Alexander the Great's victory over the Persian emperor Darius III in 333 BC. The museum also features The Secret Cabinet: erotic works from Pompeii and Herculaneum which caused embarrassment at the time of the Bourbons. Today, however, they are available for public viewing. The museum also features an Egyptian collection.

Address: P. Museo Nazionale 19

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  • Written Sep 24, 2005
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