Audio File length: 3.03
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm Alyson, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in Italy!

The vast sixteenth century palace where the Archaeological Museum is located was originally home to a university. But in the second half of the 18th century, King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon used it as a museum for two groups of very important memorabilia: the great Greek-Roman statues of the Farnese Collection from Rome, and the findings from the excavations of Pompeii, Ercolano, and Stabia, as their export urgently needed to be stopped. Other collections were then added to these two nuclei, which have extended their range to include other ancient civilizations, for example those of Egypt.

Today the MAN, as it is called because of its initials, is famous around the world above all for its artifacts from the cities that were buried by Vesuvius. But it is also a formidable cultural institution that offers a wide range of activities for all types of audiences, and special attention is dedicated to children and the constant renewal of its exhibition sections. Among its recently reopened sections, I'd like to point out the collection of tombstones and inscriptions, with rare examples of texts from central and southern Italy dating back to before the Roman conquests.

Among the sculptures, the two most important exhibits are the two colossal groups that were found in the Caracalla Baths in Rome, which are both Roman copies of Greek statues.

The Farnese Hercules depicts the muscular hero leaning on his club.

The Farnese Bull is the largest marble group that has been found intact since antiquity: it depicts the torture of the wicked Dirce, who was condemned to be trampled by a bull for his cruelty.

In the section of portraits of famous figures, don't miss the moving funeral bas-relief with Hermes, Eurydice, and Orpheus. It illustrates the myth of Orpheus vainly seeking to bring his beloved Eurydice back to earth from Hell: the relief shows the inevitability of detachment with extreme grace, but also with deep sadness.


FUN FACT: when the Farnese Hercules statue was found, there were a few pieces missing. One of Michelangelo's students, Guglielmo della Porta, sculpted the two missing calves. Then the original ones were found, which have since been reinserted into the statue. But on a wall behind Hercules you can still see the two calves sculpted by Guglielmo della Porta, displayed as a sign of gratitude.


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