A treasure trove of Roman antiquities, Naples’ National Archaeological Museum is home to more than 3,000 artifacts, including bronzes, mosaics, and papyri recovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum; the Farnese Collection of classical gems, semi-precious stones, and sculpture; and the Egyptian collection.
Opened in the late 18th century to house Charles III of Bourbon’s private collection, the National Archaeological Museum holds one of the one of the world’s finest collections of Greek and Roman artifacts in the world, with highlights including the Farnese Bull and Hercules sculptures, mosaics from the House of the Faun, frescoes from Villa di Agrippa Postumus and Casa di Meleagro, and bronzes from Villa dei Papiri—all recovered in Pompeii.
The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Naples. To avoid a long wait to enter, book a museum tour with skip-the-line tickets. Many Naples walking or hop-on-hop-off tours include a stop at the museum, as do full-day shore excursions. For a deep dive into this important collection, consider a private tour with an archaeologist guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A visit to the museum is a must for archaeology buffs, and especially interesting for those with plans to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, where many of the museum’s artifacts were recovered.
- The National Archaeological Museum is completely wheelchair accessible.
- Large bags, backpacks, and umbrellas must be left at baggage check at the entrance.
- The museum houses a small bookshop and cafe.
- Photography without flash is allowed in the museum.
How to Get There
The National Archaeological Museum is located in the center of Naples, easily accessible by metro lines 1 and 2 from across the city.
When to Get There
This popular museum can be crowded on the weekends, so is best visited on a weekday. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Racy History: The Gabinetto Segreto
The museum’s Gabinetto Segreto (or Secret Chamber) contains a small collection of ancient erotica recovered from Pompeii and elsewhere, and has a long history of limited access and censorship; even today, visitors under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. The collection includes erotic statues, paintings, and mosaics.