Friday, October 25, 2013

Italy Day 4 - Naples Archaeological Museum

Many of the treasures of Pompeii - frescoes, mosaics, statues, etc. - have been removed from the city and are now in the Archaeological Museum in Naples. This is where we headed on the fourth day of our trip, and it really is the perfect complement to a trip to Pompeii. I think it's good to do it that way round as well, since you have some idea of the context which the objects came from.

It was really huge and there was a lot to see. We reconvened in the lobby after an hour or two and decided to take another half an hour to finish looking around - and I think there were at least two sections I hadn't even been in at that stage. I think in the end I did manage to see everything though. There was even the "Secret Cabinet", full of naughty paintings and mosaics found in Pompeii, which used to be restricted to gentlemen who sought special permission to see what was inside. It was only finally permanently opened to the general public in the year 2000!

Here are a few of my highlights from the collection:

The Farnese bull - an amazing piece of sculpture, although it seems all the major parts are actually reconstructions!

A glass pitcher melted in the eruption

This is amazing - it's actually a papyrus which came from the "Villa of the Papyrus" in Herculaneum. Some 1,785 charred papyrus scrolls were found in this villa. First attempts to unroll and read the papyrus were unsuccessful, until the machine pictured was invented in 1756. Now the papyrus, which include the only copies of some ancient works, can be read using multi-spectral imaging.

Many of the mosaics were so fine they looked like paintings from a distance

Not the easiest to see, but I love the restrained delicacy of these white-background pieces

An exotic-looking Venus

Slightly disturbing


  1. Trust you to find the "secret cabinet" - I didn't!

    1. You obviously weren't very thorough, it was right next to all the mosaics, not through some secret doorway disguised as a bookcase or something.


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