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Torlonia Collection of ancient marbles displayed in Rome

ByReiss Bowler

Oct 12, 2020

ROME (AP) – One of the most important private collections of ancient Greek and Roman marble sculptures is on display in Rome as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Eternal City.

The 90 works from the Torlonia collection opened on Monday in the recently renovated Villa Caffarelli, one of the exhibition areas of the Capitoline Museum overlooking the ancient Forum Romanum. Organizers said there were plans to loan the works to other museums, but said the coronavirus pandemic had suspended those plans for now.

The Torlonia collection of 620 pieces is considered one of the largest private collections of classical art, with marble busts, reliefs, sarcophagi and statues. It was started by one of Rome’s 19th-century patricians, Prince Alessandro Torlonia, and originated in part from archaeological excavations of the various estates of the Torlonia family in Rome.

The selections presented in the new exhibition tell the history of the growth of the collection itself and include the 1884 catalog that commissioned the Prince to display his collection when he opened his own museum to house it.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told a news conference on Monday that it was unfortunate that COVID-19 restrictions would limit the number of people who can visit and the prospects for short-term loans. But he said the works are “breathtaking.”

The new exhibition, which will be open until June 29, is the result of a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Culture, the City of Rome, the Torlonia Foundation and main sponsor Bulgari, the Roman jeweler.