Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia
Piazza de Nava 26 · interesting places nearby
Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia information
The museum's prides are the world's finest examples of ancient Greek sculpture: the Bronzi di Riace , two extraordinary bronze statues discovered on the seabed near Riace in 1972 by a snorkelling chemist from Rome. Larger than life, they depict the Greek obsession with the body: inscrutable, determined and fierce, their perfect form more godlike than human. The finest of the two has ivory eyes and silver teeth parted in a faint Mona Lisa smile. No one knows who they are – whether man or god – and even their provenance is a mystery. They date from around 450 BC; it's believed they're the work of two artists.
Aside from the bronzes, there are other magnificent ancient exhibits. Look for the 5th-century-BC bronze Philosopher's Head, the oldest-known Greek portrait in existence.
While the museum is undergoing extensive renovations, follow the brown 'laboratorio' signs to the Palazzo del Consiglio on Via Portanova where you can see the bronzes for free, albeit lying on their backs on trolleys. Ask to see the video (in English), which tells the gripping story of their discovery and restoration.