The Archaeological Collection is characterized by a remarkable variety of finds that offer a comprehensive view of ancient art. In time, the collection has been enriched with new important pieces thanks to the passion bestowed on the search for works of art in the Italian and international antiquities market. In collecting both the fragment and the single ancient object, the lovingly zealous concern for its preservation, almost is if it was a “custody”, is married with the need for a thorough understanding of each single piece, so as to emphasize its value as a testimony of ancient art.
The section of architectural elements (capitals, column shafts and other various elements of architectural decoration) is the richest in number, representing the core of the whole collection. The great variety of capitals, nearly always fully preserved, gives an exhaustive view of the typologies and of the stylistic features belonging to the different architectural orders developed from the I century BC to late antiquity. The Collection boasts in fact exemplars spanning from the early Tuscan capitals carved in travertine limestone, to the Ionic – carved also in Pentelic marble – and Pergamene capitals, up to a large number of Corinthian, Corinthianizing and Composite capitals. On the whole, the Corinthian specimena exemplify, with their plastic handling of the acanthus foliage and with their specific characteristic features, the evolutions and the changes undergone by the stylistic rendering in different times and places of the Roman empire.
Furthermore, the numerous columns with plain, fluted or spiral shafts stand as a clear testimony of the widespread use made, in both public and private architecture of Roman Imperial age, of coloured and white marbles extracted in the quarries around the Mediterranean. White marbles such as the one from Luna-Carrara, “greco fasciato”, “greco scritto” and “bigio”, or the precious coloured “pavonazzetto” (marmor phrygium or synnadicum), “giallo antico” (marmor numidicum), “cipollino” (marmor carystium), “breccia corallina” (marmor sagarium) and “africano” (marmor luculleum) marbles are all equally attested.
The finds and the fragments have been divided in categories and related subcategories according to their pertinence context. Distinct categories for capitals and column shafts, separated from other architectural elements, have been created in order to grant these works a special emphasis. Within the Archaeological Collection are also to be found: sculpture, comprising statues carved fully in the round, heads and reliefs; funerary and sacred decorative elements, these with further subdivisions, where appears an almost intact sarcophagus with the genii of the seasons, as well as fragments belonging to the funerary and pagan devotional context; furniture elements, with a subcategory dedicated to small and large scale fountains and labra, amongst which stands out the exemplar carved in red marble (cottanello antico); lastly, another category gathers mosaic revetments.