Ancient Greek and Roman Statues Re-Emerge After Decades in Storage

Credit: Torlonia Foundation/Facebook

One of the most important private collections of ancient Greek and Roman marble sculptures opened to the general public for the first time in Rome last week.

The 90 works from the Torlonia Collection — the most prestigious private collection of Greek-Roman sculptures in the world — opened in the newly-rebuilt Palazzo Caffarelli, overlooking the Roman Forum.

The collection began more than a century ago by Prince Alessandro Torlonia, who had found many of the pieces on the grounds of his family’s Roman properties. A wealthy family which had profited from their business relationship with the Vatican, they purchased other well-known sculpture collections as well, adding to their treasure trove of antiquities.

Credit: Torlonia Foundation/Facebook

In 1884, the Prince built his own museum to show off his collection. However, when the museum closed in 1976, the pieces went into storage.

Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said effusively that the works “take your breath away,” when he spoke to reporters on Monday.

He added that it was unfortunate that COVID-19 safety restrictions would limit the number of people who can visit the rare pieces of art.

The show will stay open until June 29, 2021. It was made possible by public and private cooperation among the Culture Ministry, the city of Rome, the Torlonia Foundation, and the Roman jeweler Bvlgari.