What to see in Rome: An awe inspiring collection of Rome’s Classical treasures at Palazzo Massimo. The museum has Greek and Roman sculpture, displays of ancient Roman wall paintings and mosaics. There are also objects from every day life such as coins, jewelry and tools. Visitors to the museum get an idea of Roman villas, homes, gardens, taste and trends. Reservations are not needed as the museum is a bit under the radar for most tourists. In some ways it is a much more enjoyable experience than visiting the Colosseum or the Vatican Museums, where one has to fight the crowds of tourists. Palazzo Massimo is one of four museums that are part of the National Museum of Rome.
What to see:
Portrait heads exhibited n on the ground floor. It was common to publicly display portraits to celebrate the achievements of an individual or his family in gardens and parks. The portraits were also shown in the private homes of family members as a reminder of virtue and traditions.
Fragments of Fasti Antiates ancient calendars from Republic Rome. The one shown below has a calendar year of 305 days and 10 months.
Two most important Bronzes of the Ancient Age: The Boxer and the Hellenistic Prince. Both statues were discovered during excavations of Constantine’s Baths on the Quirinale Hill. The fatigue can be read on the Boxer’s face. Red copper inlays show the effects of wounds on his body and face. The statue’s hand and feet are worn from touching – suggesting the statue used to stand in a public building and people touched it for good luck.
Decorations of animal heads from homes. Big cats adorned main horizontal structures and the wolves vertically. Movable rings between the teeth were mainly for ornamental use, often for hanging garland.
The best known statue in the museum is Discus Thrower, which show boldness and complexity of movement. It is a replica of the most accomplished masterpiece of Greek sculptor Miro.
The largest coin collection in Italy sits in the basement of the museum. The coins are displayed chronologically from 4th century BC bronze coins to current day Euro.
The highlight of the museum is the garden painted room of Villa of Livia. Livia was the wife of Emperor Augustus. The 6m x 12m (20ft X 40ft) room is a masterpiece of Ancient painting. It was decorated to look like a garden rich in plants, trees and birds. It was not intended to represent a real garden but an artificial one. Plants and flowers are painted at the height of their bloom without taking in to consideration the various seasons. The effect is a walled garden, a place of tranquility and repose coveted by poets and writers as a refuge from the anxieties of public life. There is seating in the room so take some time to take in the beauty of this work as pictures cannot begin to due it justice.