Imagine losing yourself among the heroes made famous by Homer in his Iliad, looking at Achilles running towards the great walls of Troy or Ulysses and Diomedes playing chess, while Hector watches over his wife and child. Do you prefer maybe a more “mystical” experience? What about taking a walk with Dionysus inside the sacred forests swarming with satyrs and nymphs? Well, there is only one place where you can take such a unique chance: the MANN (Archaeological Museum of Naples), right in the heart of Naples, the city whose bones lie on one of the first Greek colonies in South Italy.
After being closed for more than 20 years (the last opening dates back 1996), the collection of the Mann, Magna Grecia welcomes now visitors for a very fascinating and educative experience, both for adults and children. Thanks to its antiquity and variety, which began to flow into the Museum between the second half of the eighteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, this unique collection represents a stunning lighthouse in the scenery of international museums: more than 400 artefacts, divided in jewels, decorations and vases that cast a light on the life and sociological structure of Greek colonies in South Italy, especially in Campania and Puglia regions. As said by Paolo Giulierini, the director of the MANN, this collection is literally “a portal that leads to historical knowledge of the past”.
The new exhibition is indeed centred on the theme of cultures, to explain the complexity of coexistence and systems of relations between the different communities of Southern Italy before Romanization. The collection covers a period of time that goes from VIII sec. B.C. to the Roman conquest of Italy and it defines with no doubt the cultural identity of Magna Grecia. Starting from some burials coming from Pithekoussai (Ischia) and Cuma, the exhibition is a journey through the mythological and religious universe of Magna Grecia. Among the numerous and various artefacts, it stands out a decoration made by terracotta that shows the fighting between Heracles and Nereo, the marine monster, along with the so-called Tavole of Eraclea, that is a magnificent inscription about some work sites back in those days.
Moving through the great halls of the museum, you can admire some fine examples of vases describing the sacred and symbolic meaning of the convivium (banquet), a very important moment of communion and gathering in the classical world. Then you will encounter a series of painted panels coming from the so-called Dancers’ Graveyard that represent a rare example of ancient painting art in South Italy.
Jewels, armours, weapons, bracelets, rings and necklaces: an entire life that you cannot miss to experience if you want to deepen your knowledge about local ancient history.
For further information, please visit the official website of the MANN Museum