Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

{ Naples, Italy - May 2011 }

I love how the Italian words sound, and being able to understand them is even better! During the trip in Italy, I kept trying to eavesdrop in conversations, especially when those older Italian men were talking loudly with such passion and many hand movements. But I digress. My point is, I can read and understand the title of this post - Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli is the Naples National Archeological Museum.

It has many collections from nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum, and served as a great introduction to Pompeii that we planned to go the day after. Then again, the exhibition on Pompeii in the National Museum of Singapore the year before was one of the reasons I planned the trip to Pompeii.

There were many sculptures exhibited, that remarkable as they were, became fuzzy and similar after awhile. However, there were two that stood out - Farnese Artemis and Aphrodite Kallipygos. Artemis was a Greek goddess, and I have been to the site of her temple, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, which was one of the seven wonders of the world. The sculpture was filled with many breast-like bumps that would be difficult to forget. Aphrodite Kallipygos was a sensual sculpture of a partially draped woman, looking back down over her shoulder.


The museum has many artifacts from Pompeii. I especially love all the reds on the walls and frescoes. The reds actually have a name - pompeian red! There was also a separate room called the Secret Cabinet. The room held a collection of erotic artifacts found in Pompeii. In 1819, when the King Francis I of Naples visited the exhibition in the museum, he was so embarrassed of the artwork, that he locked them away in a room that would only be accessible to "people of mature age and respected morals". So, since this may be accessible by people not of mature age and respected morals, I shall not show any photos taken from the Secret Cabinet.

The museum that was founded in 1750s have such an extensive collection of archeological finds that history buffs could easily spend the whole day in the museum. However, for a huge museum with so many artifacts, it had very few visitors during the short time that we were there. 

::: Footnotes :::

Naples National Archeological Museum } The museum is open from from 9am to 7.30pm from Wednesday to Monday. The entrance fee costs Euro 6.50. This is the official site, although the English version does not seem to work very well.

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