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English / USA Language: English / USA

As you can imagine, the excavations of the Vesuvius cities that were begun by the Bourbons around the middle of the 1700s have radically altered our knowledge of the ancient world, offering us an extraordinary amount of objects from ancient everyday life, often of astonishing design and modernity.

The museum you are in has the world's most important collection of objects from ancient Roman homes, and visiting the museum immediately after having seen the ruins of Pompeii or Ercolano would be ideal. It is a surprising and moving experience: everyday life fixed by the tragedy of the devastating eruption of August 24th, 79, is supported by testimonies ranging from great works of art to the smallest objects of domestic and city life.

It begins with the section of paintings: as I mentioned in Pompeii's files, the scenes and decorations on Pompeii's walls were "ripped off" from the ruins between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with criteria that we might not use today, but the gallery is still quite exciting. If you pay special attention to the still lifes, or compositions with objects, fruit, or game, you'll notice that they are so realistic they almost seem to be an optical illusion, and show an artistic style that won't be found again in Western art for almost another 1500 years.

Special rooms are devoted to the reconstruction of entire complexes, such as the Villa dei Papiri of Ercolano, which was excavated between 1750 and 1761, and the Temple of Isis of Pompeii, which is an important testimony to the spread of oriental worship in imperial Rome. This stunning complex gave rise to the rolls of carbonized papyrus that are slowly being unrolled and restored in an attempt to save its texts. Admire the series of marble and bronze statues that made this residence a true museum: portraits of thinkers and philosophers, lively animals, and the two extraordinary athletes racing are certainly among the most admired works in the museum.

Another striking section is that of the silver dishware, which even includes entire, elegant dish services: the one from Pompeii's House of Menandro has 115 pieces!


FUN FACT: the museum has about 2,000 precious items, including gems incised from agate, amethyst, sardonic, onyx, and other materials, as well as highly refined, prodigious, virtuous artifacts such as the so-called Blue Vase and the Farnese Cup. The latter is considered the world's largest cameo!

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