Naples – Sanita – Roman erotica at the Archaeological Museum

If you go out of the north entrance of the Galleria Umberto (see Piazza Dante post) you will see the National Archaeological Museum over the street.

On the ground floor you can see a lot of mildly interesting statues from the Farnese collection, although I did quite like the bizarre creatures being petted by the statues either side of the main staircase. Please click on the photos to get an expanded slideshow.

On the upper floors are collections of artifacts from Pompeii and Ercolano, including many wonderful mosaics.

If you’re fortunate Il Gabinetto Segreto (‘The Secret Room’) will be open.

This is where all the more risqué finds are kept that show what a liberated lot the Romans were.

I do wonder whether some of these are fake or not. My dad is an archaeologist so maybe he’ll comment below.

The history of the Secret Room is interesting in itself.

Whether it is open to the public or not is a kind of social barometer, indicating the values of the people in power.

Entrance to the museum cost me €6.50 in 2011.

2 thoughts on “Naples – Sanita – Roman erotica at the Archaeological Museum”

  1. Raif asked me to comment on whether these are genuine or not. Such things were common in the Roman world, so unlikely they are fakes. I remember on one muddy site one of the diggers scraping the mud off his boots and finding a piece of decorated samian pottery in it with a depiction of two men in a compromising situation. Also a rather shy male friend who was showing a new female volunteer how to dig with a trowel. He came across a disk made of antler and when he flicked it over he was horrified to see an erect phallus on it. He quickly picked it up and put it in his pocket. When she asked what it was he replied ‘It’s natural’.

  2. Haha, thanks dad. In pretty sure the Romans were more open minded than most modern English people are now. Bring back toga parties I say.

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