The first antiquarium on the Palatine was set up in the second half of the nineteenth century in a building next to the Domus Tiberiana. It kept material coming from excavations commissioned by Napoleon the Third. When the building was demolished in 1882, the material was moved to the complex of the Thermae of Diocletian. During the thirties Alfonso Bartoli, who had conducted successful excavations in the Domus Augustana, set up the current Antiquarium on the Palatine, readapting the preexisting convent of the Nuns of the Visitation. The materials from the Thermae of Diocletian and from the recent excavations on the Palatine were moved to this new location. At the outbreak of the Second World War a large amount of the findings was moved to the storehouses of the Superintendency of Finances in Piazza delle Finanze for reasons of safety. At the end of the war it was decided to leave the materials with a high artistic value in the National Roman Museum and to move the ones more tightly bound to the place and to its monuments to the Antiquarium on the Palatine. Currently the Antiquarium exhibits materials of the Protohistoric Age, coming from the hut village in Germalo, reproduced through a plastic model; stones labs found near the temples of Magna Mater, Victory, and Apollo; sculptural material (statues, capitals, and fragments of architectonic decorations) coming from the Imperial Palaces; part of the pictorial decoration of Nero’s Domus Transitoria. A blasphemous graffito coming from the Pedagogio representing a crucifix with a donkey’s head is famous. Lastly the frescoes of the Aula Isiaca are exhibited in an adjacent room of the Domus Augustana that keeps also part of the sixteenth century decorations of the Loggetta Mattei.
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