A guide that allowed to understand the National Archaeological Museum of Nalples and its function: to preserve the tradition and prestige of the royal collections, while at the same time linking the Museum more closely to the history and archaeology of the area.
The complicated historical events that led to the creation of the Museum go back in time to the first half of the 18th century and to the enlightened cultural attitude of Charles III of Bourbon, who came to the throne of Naples in 1734. He inherited an exceptional collection of works of art and antiquities. He first commissioned the construction of the Royal Villa of Capodimonte, which was destined to house the ‘Farnese Museum’. In the same year the king instigated a particularly successful series of excavations at Resina, Pompeii and nearby Stabiae. Amazing finds and exceptional discoveries were made as a result of these excavations. The threat posed to Portici by Vesuvius and the slow progress being made on the Capodimonte Villa, convinced Charles III’s successor, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, to unify the family collections into one magnificent Museum. For this reason, was chosen the imposing Palazzo degli Studi of Naples, wich was inaugurated in 1816 with the name ‘Royal Bourbon Museum’. The Museum’s subsequent history is linked to its Directors, Michele Arditi, Francesco Maria Avellino and Giuseppe Fiorelli. At the turn of the 20th century the positivist historian Ettore Pais oversaw the reorganization of the Museum’s collections in a manner innovative for that period. Central to his scheme were contextual groupings, an emphasis on prehistory, and the strong historical accent given to particular displays (Pompeian paintings, Portraits, Greek sculpture).