Discover the Roman National Museum and its treasures – join your expert guide on this two hour tour through one of Rome's lesser known museums. Your itinerary includes the Palazzo Massimo, the Baths of Diocletian, and the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed in part by Michelangelo.
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Palazzo Massimo was built at the end of the 19th century as part of a Jesuit college. Today it is one of the four spaces housing the National Roman Museum – with the others being the Diocletian Baths, Palazzo Altemps, and the Crypta Balbi.
Exhibits are spread across the four floors of the palace. On the ground floor is the Numismatic Section which holds one of the world's premier collection with fascinating examples of coinage and monetary systems from their origins in the eighth century B.C. to the introduction of the Euro. Included here are also several precious stones and jewelry from the Savoia collection.
The goldsmithing section also includes funerary items. The “Bambina di Grottarossa,” the mummified remains of a child found together with its doll, is on view here. The other three floors house various works of art representing a broad range of classical sculpture. These include a statue of Augustus, various Roman copies of Greek statues such as the famous ‘Discobolo Lancellotti’, a sleeping Hermaphrodite, Venus about to take a bath, and a statue of Apollo, the copy of a fifth century B.C. Greek original from the workshops of Phidias. There is also a section of interesting bronzes.
The final floor is dedicated to a rich collection of frescoes and mosaics, among them those of the villa of Livia and those of the villa Farnesina. Together these exhibits – from various locations around the city of Rome – reflect the themes and styles of the first century BC to the fourth century AD. Among the most interesting of these is a marble inlay work representing the Sun God.
The Baths of Diocletian are home to the Museum of Epigraphy, which collects and conserves ancient manuscripts on various themes from the eighth century BC to the fourth century AD. The magnificent structure of the baths, the biggest of ancient Rome, was built between the years 298 and 306 AD. Besides the traditional pools of water at various temperatures ('calidarium', 'frigidarium' and 'tepidarium'), the baths also included a central basilica, an open-air swimming pool, and many other rooms with various uses. Part of the perimeter of the baths is now occupied by the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels. Pope Pio IV, who wanted to transform the baths into a sort of basilica with an attached convent, commissioned Michelangelo to design it in 1561. In 1889 the baths became one of the seats of the National Museum of Ancient Rome.
In the cloister of Santa Maria degli Angeli – built by Michelangelo – there are about 400 sculptures displaying the entire range of artistic styles found in ancient Rome. The galleries of the cloister are dedicated to an exhibition about prehistoric populations and the development of their cultures in the Lazio region from the late bronze age and iron age (12th to 7th centuries BC), with particular reference to Rome. The epigraphical section was formed in the first half of the 19th century and has been completely restored. This exhibition displays the birth and diffusion of the Latin language through various written documents, as well as a group of texts relating the development of Roman society throughout the period.
Interesting tidbit—the name "Termini", given to Rome's central railway station is a reminder of the proximity of Diocletian's Baths (“terme”), once the biggest bathing complex in the ancient world.
Price (per group): € 224.66
This is a private, guided tour, for parties from 1 to 20 people.
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