Museo Archeologico Regionale

The Archaeology Museum of Palermo


Palermo's archaeology museum gathers artifacts from across Sicily, from prehistoric times through the Romans, many of them quite good—especially the finds from the Greek colony of Selinute.

After some Egyptian and Phoenician materials, the Sicilian relics start in earnest with Selinute sculptures and 5th-century BC lion-head drain spouts from the Victory temple at Himera.

The metopes of Selinute

In room 7 are preserved the museum's greatest treasure, the metopes of Selinute. You can follow the development of native sculpture through the three series of these decorative friezes, starting with the flattened, early archaic (early 6th-century BC) scenes best represented by the Rape of Europa (that's the one with Zeus riding a cow).

There was a significant change in just a few decades perhaps to produce the also early 6th-century BC archaic metopes from Temple C, including Perseus beheading the Gorgon while Athena looks on, and The Chariot of Helios with four worn horses riding toward you.

There's a quantum leap in development by the 5th century BC that produced such classical metopes from Temple E as Heracles Battling an Amazon and Actaeon Savaged by Dogs.

In the center of the room is the ephebe of Selinute, a 460 BC bronze tomb statuette.

Highlights of the rest of the collections

Among the rest of the collections look for the 6th-century BC oinochoe vase from the Tuscan town of Chiusi, one of the most elaborate pieces of Etruscan bucchero (blackened earthenware) in existence.

Among the Roman bronzes are a 3rd century BC ram and a Heracles fighting a stag that may have served as the centerpiece for a Pompeiian villa's fountain.

The collection is rounded out by scads of Greek vases and a few prehistoric finds, including casts of Neolithic incised drawings discovered in the Addaura cave of Monte Pellegrino on Palermo's outskirts.



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Related pages

Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas
Piazza Bara all'Olivella 24 (between Piazza Verdi and Via Roma
tel. +39-091-611-6805

Formerly open Tues–Sat 8:30am–1:45pm; Sun–Mon 8:45am–6:45pm
Bus: 101, 102, 103, 104, 107, 122, 124

Palermo information
Palermo tourist office
Piazza Castelnuovo 34
tel. +39-091-605-8351

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★★ Centrale Palace Hotel [€€–€€€]
★★ Hotel Letizia [€€–€€€]
★★ B&B Ai Cartari [€€–€€€]
Hotel Grande Albergo Sole [€€€]
Hotel Posta [€€]
Hotel Cortese [€]

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This article was written by Reid Bramblett and was last updated in August 2012. All information was accurate at the time.

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