About Me

Jan 15, 2013


Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is one of the seats of the National Roman Museum.
Just around the corner from Rome’s Termini train station, it's the perfect place to get a feel for ancient Roman art.
Highlights include the famous bronze Boxer and two versions of the Discobolus!  
Pride of place goes however to the breathtaking ancient frescoes and mosaics stunningly set up to "re-create" the look of the villas they once decorated. 
The second floor of the museum in fact is dedicated to those amazing decorations from the heyday of the Roman empire. 
The frescoes from the Villa of Livia (Augustus wife)  at Primaporta, on the via Flaminia were discovered in 1863 and displayed here in 1951.  A lush painted garden covered the walls of a semi-subterranean chamber, probably a cool triclinium (dining room) for summer banquets.  These stunning frescoes, which totally surround you, depict an illusionary garden with all the plants in fool bloom.
The other villa 'reconstructed' here is the Villa Farnesina:  sumptuous residence of the Augustan age,  brought back to light in Trastevere in 1879.  Set up like the villa itself, one can actually see how the rooms would have looked with the frescoes on the walls, detailed molding on the ceiling and mosaics on the floors. The references to the Egyptian world can be read as a celebration of the conquest of Egypt. In fact the owner of the residence is probably to be identified as the general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa himself, author of the victory at Actium, who married Augustus' daughter. 


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