See the world-famous Riace Bronzes, two 2,500-year old statues of Greek warriors, and other prized ancient artifacts at this acclaimed museum.
Reggio di Calabria’s Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia is, for many visitors to the city, the undoubted highlight of the trip. Discover one of Italy’s finest museums, whose collection includes everything from Paleolithic cave paintings to Bronze Age tools to painted ceramics from Magna Graecia, as well as the museum’s most famous exhibit, the Riace Bronzes.
Familiarize yourself with the history of Southern Italy in this fascinating museum. While much of the collection focuses on what the Romans called Magna Grecia, an assortment of ancient Greek colonies located on Italy’s southern coast, the museum also has exhibits devoted to pre-Greek and Roman settlers from the Neolithic, Paleolithic and Bronze Age eras.
Don’t miss the Riace Bronzes, a pair of exquisite Greek warrior statues. These two impressive works date back to the 5th century B.C. They were discovered in about 20 feet (7 meters) of water by an amateur diver off the Ionian Coast in 1972. After restoration, they were put on display here. Watch a video chronicling the restoration effort and marvel at their exquisitely realized forms inside the temperature-controlled room where they are now safely held.
Inspect the statues’ muscular bodies and resolute faces and note their extremely lifelike expressions. Though the statues are made predominantly from bronze, other materials have been used, with one of the warriors bearing silver teeth and ivory eyes. Be prepared to wait to see the Riace Bronzes; visitors are allowed to enter the display space only in groups of 20. Also in the same room is the Philosopher’s Head, a bearded bronze portrait.
Wander around the museum, which is housed in a Fascist-era building constructed between 1932 and 1941, to encounter other historic objects and artworks. Look for painted terracotta plaques, known as “pinakes” from Locri and Reggio, and the marble Kouros di Reggio statue of a naked youth, believed to date back to the 6th century B.C.
Find the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia just north of the city center. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and an admission fee applies.