The Antiquarium of Pompeii has reopened as a museum, exhibiting finds that show and narrate the story of the ancient city of Pompeii. The historic building has been completely refurbished and inaugurated with a new layout, and it traces the history of Pompeii from the Samnite era – 4th century BC – until the eruption of AD 79.

The Antiquarium was originally built by Giuseppe Fiorelli between 1873 and 1874 in the area below the terrace of the Temple of Venus. At that point, it was the exhibition venue for a selection of finds that were representative of the daily life of the ancient city, as well as for casts of the victims of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius.

Mummified bodies at the Antiquarium of Pompeii
The museum is home to casts of the victims of the eruption © Antiquarium of Pompeii

In 1926, it was expanded by Amedeo Maiuri, who added large maps indicating the updated developments of the excavations since 1748. He enhanced the collection with new finds from the Villa Pisanella of Boscoreale, as well as more recent excavations of Via dell'Abbondanza, and laid out a route to guide visitors through the history of Pompeii from its origins until the eruption.

The building was seriously damaged in 1943 by bombing during World War II, but thanks to Maiuri's restoration works, it reopened to visitors five years later as part of the celebrations of the second centenary of the excavations of Pompeii. It closed to the public again after it was damaged by the 1980 earthquake, and remained closed for 36 years until it reopened in 2016 as a visitor center with temporary museum exhibits.

The new renovations are reminiscent of Amedeo Maiuri’s first concept for the museum and provide an introductory tour before an actual visit to the site. Visitors can see the most famous artifacts from Pompeii, such as the frescoes of the House of the Golden Bracelet, the Moregine Silver Treasure and the triclinium of the House of Menander, as well as finds unearthed by the most recent excavations undertaken by the Archaeological Park. These include fragments of First Style stucco from the House of Orion, the amulet treasure from the House with the Garden and the recently produced casts of the victims from the Civita Giuliana villa.

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The new renovations are reminiscent of Amedeo Maiuri’s first concept for the museum © Antiquarium of Pompeii

There are two forms of digital media available to visitors, including audio narration, and a web-bot – a digital assistant that provides simple and clear service information. Further information can be found on the website here.

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