National Archaeological Museum

Naples, Italy

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is an important Italian archaeological museum, particularly for ancient Roman remains. Its collection includes works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, and especially Roman artifacts from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.

The building was built as a cavalry barracks in 1585. From 1616 to 1777 it was the seat of the University of Naples. During the 19th century, after it became museum, it suffered many changes to the main structure.

The museum hosts extensive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. Their core is from the Farnese Collection, which includes a collection of engraved gems (including the Farnese Cup, a Ptolemaic bowl made of sardonyx agate and the most famous piece in the 'Treasure of the Magnificent', and is founded upon gems collected by Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo il Magnifico in the 15th century) and the Farnese Marbles. Among the notable works found in the museum are the Herculaneum papyri, carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, found after 1752 in Villa of the Papyri.

The greater part of the museum's classical sculpture collection largely comes from the Farnese Marbles, important since they include Roman copies of classical Greek sculpture, which are in many cases the only surviving indications of what the lost works by ancient Greek sculptors such as Calamis, Kritios and Nesiotes looked like. Many of these works, especially the larger ones, have been moved to the Museo di Capodimonte for display in recent years.

The museum's Mosaic Collection includes a number of important mosaics recovered from the ruins of Pompeii and the other Vesuvian cities. This includes the Alexander Mosaic, dating from circa 100 BC, originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. Another mosaic found is that of the gladiatorial fighter depicted in a mosaic found from the Villa of the Figured Capitals in Pompeii.

With 2,500 objects, the museum has one of the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy after the Turin, Florence and Bologna ones. It is made up primarily of works from two private collections, assembled by Cardinal Stefano Borgia in the second half of the 18th century, and Picchianti in the first years of the 19th. In the recent rearrangement of the galleries the two nuclei have been exhibited separately, while in the connecting room other items are on display, including Egyptian and 'pseudo-Egyptian' artefacts from Pompeii and other Campanian sites. In its new layout the collection provides both an important record of Egyptian civilization from the Old Kingdom (2700-2200 B.C.) up to the Ptolemaic-Roman era.

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Address

Piazza Museo 22, Naples, Italy
See all sites in Naples

Details

Founded: 1777
Category: Museums in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mike Ledwith (5 months ago)
As you’d expect a really fantastic display from Pompeii, but has also got a huge collection from Egypt, well labelled and organised. Some papyrus exhibits you can still see the ink shining- wonderful.
Janno Kondrashev (8 months ago)
Beautiful museum full of many breath-taking ancient historical artefacts. What a blessing and inspiring visit that was!
Evelyn C. (9 months ago)
In my opinion, the most interesting sections were: Mosaics > Frescos > Temple of Isis > Hall of Sundial > Magna Graecia > Villa dei Papiri > Farnese Sculptures. The “Fountains Garden” was a beautiful place to rest. 2 hours were enough for me to go through several collections without rush. Due to coronavirus some collections were closed - including the well known “secret cabinet”. Nevertheless, a replica of the famous “Pan & the She-goat” was placed in the “Villa dei Papiri” section. Also in “Frescos” section several paintings of Mars grabbing Venus’ breast. For extra €1.50, the “Magna Graecia” section could be accessed by walking in slipper bags, which were given upon buying tickets. It was an experience feeling how the ancient walked on mosaics.
Mark Rearden (9 months ago)
We visited the museum the day after taking a trip to Pompeii were the tour guide recommended we visit the museum to see some of the best artifacts that were taken from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other sites affected by the 79ad eruption. We were not disappointed as it gave us a better picture of how people lived at those sites including beautiful works of art, sculptures, mosaics, jewelry and much more. There is a small cafe area now at the museum and toilet facilities.
FAKKELBRIGADE1990 (fakkel) (10 months ago)
I have been to musea at Cairo, London, New York, Amsterdam, Leiden, Berlin, Barcelona, Athen, etc, etc, but Museo Archeologico Nazionale is my favorite. The things you see there are not only unique, but also amazing. There is so much quality there it is insane. Then you probably think, just a few amazing pieces that's it right? Wrong! The have atleast 100+ pieces that would make any other museo in the world better and stand out more. Sculptures, items, paintings, unique greece tile floors (not even seen in greece). Marble, gold items, bronse, iron, etc, etc. The museo itself looks clean and pretty, all items even the massive ones have enough room. There is a sirene, relaxing vibe when you walk from one room to another. Breathtaking experience for a low price so what is not to like here?!
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