(Photo by Justin Ennis)
7 Reasons the Naples Archeological Museum Will Blow Your Mind
Several blog posts back, we paid a respectful visit to Pompeii. If you are still interested in viewing additional artifacts from this ancient civilization, the life of which was cut too short, as well as artifacts from neighboring Stabiae and Herculaneum, you must visit the Naples National Archeological Museum. Actually, now that I think about it, you must visit this museum anyway! Established in 1585, the MANN, as it’s called, is considered the most important museum in Italy. The Greek, Renaissance, and Roman works housed in the museum are some of the best in the world. Many visitors say that their time spent within the MANN’s walls are what “made” their trip to Naples. Will the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli blow your mind! Yes, yes it will. Here are seven reasons why:
Mind-Blower 1: The Overall Quality of the Antiquities
The first reason why the MANN is going to blow your mind is that the collection of art is truly extraordinary. This is no ordinary museum. The MANN’s collection of Greek and Roman artifacts is one of the best in the world. The lost works of Greek sculptors Calamis, Kritios, and Nesiotes are represented at the MANN, as are actual artifacts that were carbonized when Mount Vesuvius erupted those many centuries ago.
Mind-Blower 2: The Herculaneum Papyri
So let’s go ahead talk about the carbonized artifacts on display at the Naples National Archeological Museum. The Herculaneum papyri are a collection of more than 1,800 Greek philosophic writings that were unearthed in the 18th century when archeologists unburied ancient Herculaneum from under Vesuvius’ ash. The heat from Vesuvius carbonized the papers, but you can still read them, and historians attributed the collection, and some of the writings, to Philodemus, an Epicurean philosopher and poet.
Mind-Blower 3: Bronzes
Also unearthed from the Villa of the Papyri where the Herculaneum papyri were found is some breathtaking bronze work. The Romans were particularly fond of bronze work and created many masterpieces from the metal. You will see a bronze bust of the actor Thespis and the statue Seated Hermes, which is considered to be the most celebrated piece of artwork excavated from the 18th-century dig.
Mind-Blower 4: Ancient Egyptian Collection
No matter where you are in the world, nearly every museum has some tribute to the ancient Egyptians. It’s understandable; they were darned important! Still, the MANN’s collection is pretty mind-blowing. It’s the third-largest collection in Italy, and it includes ancient Egyptian artifacts from 2700 through 2200 B.C., including artifacts in possession of Pompeians at the time of their death and, yes, a mummy!
Mind-Blower 5: Marbles
We call them statues, but technically, they are marbles. The MANN’s collection of marbles is the best and will give any woman visiting the museum butt envy. Trust me girls, the statue of Venus Kallipygos and her bare behind will make any woman want to spend the next three hours in the gym. Eat your heart out, Kim K.! Alongside Venus’ beautiful marble, you will also see marbles of Greek gods Hercules and Atlas, the grandiose Farnese Bull, and countless other statues and busts.
Mind-Blower 6: Mosaics
Mosaics just blow my mind period; it doesn’t matter where I seem them. How does one person take a bunch of tiny colored glass or stone pieces and turn them into art? Seriously, that takes some amazing talent. As with all of the other mind-blowing stuff inside the MANN’s walls, the mosaics are truly remarkable, and many were excavated from Pompeii. Included in the collection is the 100 B.C. Alexander Mosaic, a mosaic of Alexander the Great in battle with Persia’s Darius III.
Mind-Blower 7: Secret Cabinet
Leave the kiddies in the mosaic room when you check out this mind-blowing collection of art. As I discussed in my blog about Pompeii, the city was, well, a tad spicy at times. The Secret Cabinet houses a collection of erotic artwork and objects from both Pompeii and Herculaneum. The artifacts in the Secret Cabinet are so controversial that the collection has been censored several times over the past few centuries. Even today, if you’re under 14, you can’t go in unless you’re accompanied by an adult!
As you can see, the Naples National Archeological Museum is quite mind-blowing, and I didn’t even have a chance to mention all of the frescoes in the museum’s collection. You will not be disappointed during your visit to the MANN. While in Naples, you must eat pizza and you must visit the MANN. In fact, eat pizza and then walk it off at the MANN!