Antonino-Salinas Museum: Visiting Gods Of Ancient Europe


The magnificent, wheelchair-accessible Antonino Salinas Museum is housed in a Renaissance monastery and includes some of Sicily’s most important Greek and Roman artifacts, including the museum’s crown jewel: a set of genuine ornate friezes from the temples at Selinunte. Other notable findings in the museum’s collection include 5th century BC Phoenician sarcophagi, Greek sculptures from Himera, the Hellenistic Ariete di bronzo di Siracusa (Bronze Ram of Syracuse), Etruscan mirrors, and the world’s largest collection of ancient anchors.

The Antonino Salinas Museum: Visit The Gods Of Ancient Europe
Regional Archaeological Museum Antonino Salinas, CC BY 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Selinunte – ancient Selinus – had one of the largest temples in the Greek world among its forest of shrines. After being destroyed by the Carthaginians in 409 BC, its rows of columns collapsed centuries later and had to be rebuilt over the last 200 years. The temple decorations ended up in Palermo’s revamped gallery – and what magnificent finds they are!

The metopes of a Greek temple were high up in the frieze, situated between the triglyphs, those memories of old wooden constructions that resembled the ends of beams with their three notches. They were carved or painted with appropriate designs, establishing a visual concept of what a temple was all about.

On the ground level, there is a section dedicated to the artifacts discovered underwater, which include items that were part of the cargo of vessels, stone anchors, strains of lead, lamps, amphoras, and inscriptions spanning from Phoenician to Roman culture.

The Phoenician portion has two huge anthropomorphic sarcophagi from the necropolis of Pizzo Cannita dating from the fifth century BC (near modern Misilmeri). God statues and Phoenician votive stelae from Mozia and Lilybaeum are also on display.

Himera artifacts, as well as items and sculptures from Solunto, Megara Hyblaea, Tindari, Kamarina, and Agrigento, are on exhibit. The huge Ram bronze from Syracuse from the third century BC, a Roman copy of a sculpture by Lysippus portraying Heracles catching the Ceryneian Hind, and a Roman copy of a marble statue by Praxiteles representing a satyr are among the most notable works of art.

A collection of sculptures and mosaics discovered in villas around Piazza Vittoria in Palermo, where the Roman city’s core was originally located, documents the Roman period. The museum exhibits ancient cultures found in caverns across Palermo’s area.

Would you like to see one of world’s largest collection of Greek and Roman art at the Antonino-Salinas Museum?

If you liked learning about the Antonino-Salinas Museum, you’ll like learning about how the British Museum actually got its artefacts.


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