What to see at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples: timetables, prices and advice

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

The quantity and quality of the works exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN), have led it over time to become one of the most important archaeological museums in Europe. Famous for the collections including all the findings of the excavations of the archaeological areas of Pompeii, it also houses important Greek and Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian finds.


  1. What to see and how to visit National Archaeological Museum
  2. Pompeian frescoes and mosaics
  3. Farnese collection
  4. Secret Cabinet
  5. Villa dei Papiri
  6. Egyptian collection
  7. Hours and prices
  8. Online tickets and guided tours
  9. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit National Archaeological Museum

More than 3000 exhibits spanning a period from prehistory to the modern age and coming from sites and collections throughout the Mediterranean area, are exhibited on an area of ​​12.650 square meters. The museum is divided into sections, organized according to the following exhibition criteria.

Below is more information on some of the main sections that can be visited.

1 - Pompeian frescoes and mosaics

During the restoration of the Pompeii area, some frescoes were brought to the museum to be restored and since then, once the work was completed, they are part of the permanent collection on the first floor. The Roman period paintings are important and suggestive, here mostly representing scenes of daily life, hunting, or mythological themes. There are also many restored artifacts and mosaics. Among the epigraphs on display, the Tragic Mask, a mosaic of Alexander the Great and the Cave Canem. Worthy of a special mention is made of the mosaic of the Battle of Issus which depicts the victory of Alexander the Great over Darius of Persia.

2 - Farnese Collection

The creation of this collection is due to Alessandro Farnese, later Pope Paul III, and to the other members of his family, composed of a large quantity of ancient and modern objects destined to embellish the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. The result both of acquisitions made by the family and of commissions to the most important artists of the time, it is made up of paintings, sculptures, paintings and all that is "art". Not to be missed is the Farnese Bull, the largest marble statue ever found that left even Michelangelo amazed. Dated between the 3nd and rd centuries BC, it represents Dirce's torture. Other works to observe carefully are the great Hercules, a -meter statue found at the Baths of Caracalla and Donatello's Horse Head.

3 - Secret Cabinet

In 2000 the Secret Cabinet was opened to the public with all its material, including sculptures, paintings and various objects, a purely erotic background. In Roman times the phallic symbol was considered effective against evil eyes and diseases and a wish for prosperity; so here is a whole series of amulets worn by men and women or posted in the shops where the male member is the subject of the work. About 250 artifacts are exhibited including statues, mosaics and frescoes and the most important work is a statue that depicts the god Pan in the act of mating with a goat.

4 - Villa of the Papyri

Between 1750 and 1764, the Villa dei Papiri was found, one of the richest and most sumptuous Roman villas of the south. The Museum houses bronze busts, statues and heads from the Villa, as well as five statues depicting the Dancers, others in bronze, papyrus and busts.

5 - Egyptian Collection

Rich in objects of common use, funerary, and manuscripts from Egypt, as well as important archaeological finds, the collection has a considerable historical value and has been established over time thanks to the finds discovered and acquired from private collections. It was the Borgia family who began to collect the artefacts which then passed to the Bourbons, who made them public in 1821. To date, it is one of the most important exhibitions in the world outside Egypt and features mummies, sarcophagi, votive objects, statues and jewelry and the most precious piece is perhaps the Lady of Naples, a sculpture dating back to 2700 BC

Hours and prices

  • every day from 9:00 to 13:00 (except Tuesdays)
  • Closing day: Tuesday
  • Best time to avoid queues: in the morning at the opening or at lunchtime.
  • full € 15,00
  • Reductions: € 2,00 for EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old - special discount for ArteCArd holders (admission 50%)
  • Free: under 18 - free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month from October to March - from 6 to 10 March 2019 "Museum Week" - 21 March, 12 19 and 26 May - 11 18 and 25 August - 19 September

Online tickets and guided tours

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: the ideal would be to reach the entrance by 9:00
  2. Buy the card: with the Naples Artecard you are entitled to a visit with priority access to the most important museums, archaeological parks and cultural sites of the city, to unlimited rides on the integrated transport network in Naples and Campania. The cost for 3 days is € 21,00 for adults and € 12 for ages 18-25. Naples: 3-day pass for attractions and public transport
  3. Priority ticket: with Napoli Artecard
  4. Watch out for restrictions: it is not allowed to introduce bulky bags or backpacks and it is not possible to consume food inside the exhibition spaces. Photography without flash and tripods is possible, and professional photos must be authorized by management.
  5. Visit time: the minimum visit time is 2 hours, but it is advisable to decide on half a day to fully enjoy the museum.

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: from the Naples Piazza Cavour station the museum is about 500 meters away, which can be reached on foot in less than 10 minutes. Get directions
  • By bus: with bus n ° 147 from Piazza Cavour you can get to the museum in 5 minutes at a cost of € 1,10 for a single ride
  • By Metro: the Naples metro has a connection station just below the museum (Cavour / Museo, line 1 and line 2)

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

Before being a museum, the 1585 building housed a riding school and then a university and in 1816 it first became the seat of the finds and then a museum. The origin and formation of the collections are linked to the figure of Charles III of Bourbon, on the throne of the Kingdom of Naples since 1734, and to his cultural and dissemination policy. In 1860 it became a National Museum thanks to the large amount of exhibits housed, every year it acquires important pieces from private collections or excavations and today it has 12650 square meters of exhibition space with a very important tourist influx for the city of Naples and the region. Given the size of the whole building, for some years now it has also hosted classical and jazz music events and concerts and temporary exhibitions of great value.

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