In October 2016 the galleries of the Egyptian Collection at The Archeological Museum in Naples reopened to the public. Situated in the basement, at level -1, it is an interesting opportunity to discover ancient life by the Nile. The collection is the second most important in Italy after Turin.
It was started in 1821 by Cardinal Stefano Borgia who collected and archived several objects from Egypt. Today it counts about 2500 Egyptian artefacts datable to Early Dynastic and Byzantine Periods (3000 BC - AD 640).
The new permanent exhibition explores all the different aspects of Egyptian life in the following sections; Men and Pharaohs, Tombs and Grave-goods, Mummification, The Magical and Religious Word, Scriptures, Jobs, Egypt in Campania and the Epigraphic section.
The most interesting part, in my opinion, is the Mummification section. The star of the section is the crocodile, remarkably preserved in its original bandaging of fabric and palm leaves. Next to the crocodile are two baby crocodiles. In ancient Egypt, crocodiles were connected to the god Seth or to the god Sobek. The crocodile was a holy animal and was cared for, decked with jewelry and treated with devotion until it's death and then buried in holy ground. Another interesting aspect of the mummification section is the preservation of body parts separately, like heads and feet, which are on display but I have avoided to put the pictures in as they look quite creepy!.
Egyptians were very fashionable. Most of the sophisticated jewellery found inside the tombs are not too far away from a bracelet or earring from a trendy shop on the high street.
In the following halls are exhibited the beautiful statues of Kings and gods and it is really interesting to see how powerful Pharaohs were, treated like gods in life and in death. The last section of the gallery is dedicated to Egyptian documents. Thanks to those long rolls of papyrus, we now know how Egyptians used to live, their relationships with gods and religion and much more.
Visiting the Archeological Museum is a MUST when you come to Napoli, so I will very soon write about other sections and about the building itself, as it is one of the oldest Archeological Museums in the World.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale - Piazza Museo 19 - 80137 Napoli. Tel: +39 06 39967 050
Tickets: € 12 / Reduced € 6 / Evening entry € 2 - Promotions are applied to Trenitalia and Frecciarossa costumers, see the website.
Opening hours: Every day except Tuesdays 09.00 - 19.30. Closed December 25th and January 1st.