For travelers coming to Naples to discover the city’s rich ancient history and archaeology, one of the highlights will be stepping through the front doors of the National Archaeology Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale). Inside is housed one of the world’s finest collections of ancient art. This is why it comes in as Number 1 in our Top 5 Museums in Naples, Italy. Climbing the steps of the 16th century building, it’s hard to imagine the treasures you’ll discover inside. I’ll tempt you with just a few hightlights of the collection, and you’ll have to visit on your next trip to Naples to see them all!
While visiting the archaeological ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum are a must, many visitors don’t know that much of the treasure uncovered in the excavations of these ancient Roman towns is now on display at the National Archaeological Museum. This includes incredible examples of Roman mosaics, such as the awe inspiring mosaic of Alexander the Great that was uncovered in Pompeii’s House of the Faun. Don’t try to count them, because there are over one million tiles in this moscaic!
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is also home to one of the largest collections of Roman sculptures and other objects in the world. Don’t miss the massive Farnese Bull and the Farnese Hercules, both of which were found in Rome’s Baths of Caracalla and are highlights of Farnese Collection of marble sculptures.
While exploring the museum, you can also see beautiful frescoes and murals that have been transferred from Pompeii and other towns destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The museum also houses a fabulous collection of glass and stone vessels, gems, coins, jewellery, as well as a fine collection of Egyptian art.
Plan a half day to really explore the National Archaeological Museum, or at least a couple of hours to make it through the highlights of the collection. For a break, stop at the little café in the museum court for a refresher. Visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale website for details on current exhibitions, ticketing, hours and tour information.