The National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli) in Naples is world famous. It has a large collection of ancient objects. The Farnese Collection consists of sculptures that were found in the 16th century during excavations in Caracalla Thermal Baths. The most famous is the Farnese Bull, the largest preserved group of statues from Roman times. There is also a large collection of jewellery on display, including the largest cameo (gem consisting of different colours) in the world. The National Archaeological Museum is one of the must-see sights in Naples.
The first and second floors are entirely dedicated to the finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum, the two towns that were buried with lava and ash during an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. There are mosaics and frescoes on display, including the famous mosaic from the house of the Faun in Pompeii by Alexander the Great and his battle against the Persians. The mosaic of Dioskourides was found in the villa of Cicero. It shows a group of itinerant musicians. There are also portraits on display, such as the very realistic portrait of the rich banker Cecilius Giocondus.
The sculptures and furniture from the Temple of Isis in Pompeii and the papyrus rolls from the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum are also highlights.
The exhibition uses computer animations, large photographs and film footage to show how the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum took place. There are also casts of people in agony who tried to bring their possessions to safety. The 2,000 year old loaves of bread, dates and figs appeal to the imagination. There are also rooms with ceramics, bronze (e.g. helmets of gladiators from Pompeii), coins and glassware.
Website (Italian): Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Address: Piazza Museo
Opening hours: 09.00-19.30 (closed on Tuesdays)
Consult the website of the National Archaeological Museum Naples for up-to-date price information and opening hours.