Centuries of Campanian history all under one roof.
The most important archeological museum in Italy (and one of the first created in Europe) is housed in an enormous 17th-century palazzo, where some of the world’s greatest and most valuable treasures (over 3,000 of them) are laid out by theme. The famous Farnese collection of Greek and Roman antiquities was started by Alessandro Farnese (future Pope Paul III) and inherited by Elizabeth Farnese and, through her marriage to Philip V of Spain, passed to her son Charles III (rather confusingly also known as Charles VII, King of Naples and Charles V of Sicily).
The collection includes the iconic Hercules and the Farnese Bull, along with important archeological finds - pottery, glass, gems and coins - from Herculaneum and the Vesuvius area. There are also important Egyptian finds, wonderful mosaics, and the rather saucy Gabinetto segreto, a collection of ancient pornography found at Pompeii and Herculaneum (not suitable for under-11s). There are also Paleolithic, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age finds from the Campania region.