Rome: Pompeii’s museum has been given a new lease of life after a long history of “ups and downs,” announced the director of the archaeological park, Massimo Osanna.
Known as the Antiquarium, the museum narrates the history of Pompeii through exquisite finds unearthed at the ancient Roman city which was buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Inaugurated in about 1873, the museum was damaged in 1943 by bombing during world war two, leading to “the destruction of an entire room and the loss of hundreds of artefacts,” said Osanna.
The Antiquarium reopened in 1948, however the massive Irpinia earthquake in 1980 led to its closure for 36 years, only opening again for temporary exhibitions in 2016.
The reopening of the museum on a permanent basis – hailed by Osanna as a “sign of great hope during a very difficult moment” – follows lengthy closures at the archaeological site over the last year due to the covid-19 crisis.
Treasures on display at the Antiquarium include fragments of frescoed walls, sculptures, silver spoons, furnishings, amulets and items from everyday life before the city was destroyed.
The museum also has a room dedicated to the eruption of Vesuvius, containing casts of Pompeii residents and their animals – unearthed in excavations at the Villa of Civita Giuliana – who perished as they tried to flee the ancient city.
Access to the Antiquarium will be included in the entrance ticket to the vast archaeological site which, due to Italy’s coronavirus travel restrictions, is currently only open to visitors from the Campania region which includes Pompeii and Naples.