Visiting the museums in Rome

During the week, museums was free to enter due to Rome’s birthday. I didn’t know about this till I was surfing through a couple of links through Italytutto. I looked at my calender and saw that we only had a few days left! But better later than never!

Tthe first museum that we stepped to was the ‘Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari’ – translated, it means Museum of folk arts and traditions.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

One of the first things that I saw was a huge display called the Giglio di nola. One of these are easily more than 5 times the height of an average human and was extremely heavy. For the rest of the year, it will be kept in the church but once a year there is this tradition to carry and parade it.

But it was a symbol of devotion and honour to carry these. Men who carried them were considered an equivalent of rock stars.

Another version of this is the Ceri di gubbio. It’s smaller sized but it’s heavy anyway and they race across the square to be the first person to reach the church.

I’d love to see this in real life. It must have been an experience 🙂

We then stepped into another room where we saw potteries and clothes worn by ancient Italians. This one for example, was worn by a married woman.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

I really liked this outfit. I’m not sure if you could see it in the picture, but the design looked beautiful and I really liked the jewellery.

There was a room where we saw different types of traditional outfits according to the regions in Italy. Regions up north looked more Nordic while the regions down in the south looked more Mediterranean.

This was what traditional Rome outfit looked like.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

Cart said that the biggest way to recognize it was through the square buckle on the shoe. It was a very recognizable trait.

There was another room where we entered where there were a lot of traditional toys like these ones. The marionettes below were called ‘I Pupi siciliani’. I think this devil puppet looks pretty cool with his three fingers up like that.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

Cart said that these puppets were Mediterranean inspired. Personally I thought that they looked quite Indian instead.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

I think that being quite close together, Southern Italians and Indians share a number of similar traditions. For example, the L’infiorata. It’s a same tradition of using coloured grains to make a pattern of the floor while there is similar Indian tradition too during Deepavali.

We walked to another segment where there was a diorama where Italians traditionally used to live in. This was one of them. The people took advantage of the materials from their region to make their own unique houses.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

This was probably the biggest nativity scene that I’ve ever seen.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

I liked seeing the buildings in them. It was like a really huge doll-house. Cart tells me that it was a reflection of how the people used to live in the times. Not sure if it is clear in the picture, but you could spot the baby Jesus even from far on account of the flying angels above it.

This display below was interesting to me.

Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari - Roma

Traditional street food sellers. It’s quite fascinating to me how similar the tools are like with the street-food utensils of the Singapore past. Like the first item on the left totally looked like a satay burner complete with the fan.

Later on we then passed by a room where there was a Korean display on how to make their intricate boxes with decorative patterns made of shells. It just seem so out of place in an Italian museum, but it was interesting to see anyway.

We scoured through 3 floors full of exhibit and at the end of the day, we were quite tired. But it was so interesting going through the exhibits.

Day Two, Sunday

The next day, Cart and I headed to the Museo Dell’Alto Medioevo after visiting Parco Laghetto Eur.

Museo Dell'Alto Medioevo - Roma

This is a museum that showcased medieval things. I was keen to see what was inside there. The unfortunate thing is that when we reached there, it was closed for the day!

In any case, we then headed to the museum which was right next to it. Thankfully, the Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico was open.

At the moment, the exhibits were divided by different continents.

The first that we headed to was Africa and we saw different types of masks, weapons, outfits and such. One of the unforgettable ones was an African mask which was about 15 stories high. According to Cart, the higher it was, the easier it was for them to reach to heaven.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

I took this picture above because I found the story interesting that there was a Muslim influence in Africa. This was one of the artefacts and Cart was translating to me that the long piece of wood at the back, which had verses written on it, and it was used to dip in water and the water was used for healing.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

This was how a Somalian woman looked like on her wedding night. It just struck me because Somalia is one of poorest countries in the world. But the woman in the picture looked decadent. So much has happened between then and now.

Next we entered the America section where we saw plentiful of old relics, some were Aztec and Mayan. Its a savage culture, where human sacrifices are expected of them. I remember a pottery where a sacrificial scene was depicted. The man wielding the sword looked even happy to do so.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

This one is kind of eye brow raising because its a musical instrument made of REAL HUMAN BONE! I wonder if anyone have the stomach to play that in real life now, being aware of what it was made of.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

This instrument looks adorable, with surprised face and all. But Cart explained that if you see this, you should run away as fast as you can because it is a club. And it will hit you to death!

The next segment that we headed to was the Ocean Pacific and it was interesting to see them making use of the items around them for their use.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

The hat was made of a puffer fish. And the sword next to it is was  made out of a sawfish. I found it impressive.

The last area that we went to was the prehistoric segment where we walked up a lot of steps and when we finally arrived, we saw displays to see how society evolved from the first primates and throughout the different ages, bronze age, iron age.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

By this time, I was feeling quite tired after walking around so much that we sit down to rest our feet in front of a display of human evolution.

After walking so much, my legs were so tired and I could hardly walk any more. The museum was actually a lot larger than I thought, judging from the outside! Nevertheless, we did enjoy ourselves and I’m looking forward to attend the next ones.

To end, I will put up a picture that doesn’t really go in the blog post.

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico - Roma

This man was showing us how to make a large container out of clay, just like how it was in the ancient times.

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7 Replies to “Visiting the museums in Rome”

  1. this is so fun! i love museums. ur life is like one big holiday in italy. *so envious* hehe.. u’re like having complete italian culture immersion tours, n u can learn about the country’s history n traditions n culture in one long, extended holiday! so fun. 🙂

    about indian culture / figurines / statues being in italy i think it’s because the indians were sea merchants and they travelled all over asia n mediterranean europe to hawk their wares and trade. they may have brought some of their culture n history over to europe too.. that’s my guess. but the turban dudes? definitely indian. haha. sorry Cart!

  2. The hat made of puffer fish is interesting!! Never seen one like that before 🙂
    Share something with u Marina.. I’ve never visited any museum while in S’pore.. but ever since I came here and Emanuele is a museum goer, I’ve appreciated the museums we went to.. be it in Italy & in Europe. I learnt a lot more thru the visits to the museums. I would want to visit a museum in S’pore and see if there’s much difference from the ones in Europe.

  3. Interesting!
    I have not much to add but thanks to your april’s fool prank I’m still having fear so wanted to leave a message to show that I do read! 🙂

    Belgium’s king Leopold II once ruled Congo and “thanks” to that (the man is said to have robbed the country) we now do have a great museum overhere with regular exhibitions like the one you visited.
    I’m always amazed how beautiful these exotic masks are. Esthetical abstraction that I can never ever reach in my own work. Less so the harder I try… amazing and exciting to see in reality.

  4. Wowwww!!! I love museums, but after visiting the ones in Europe and America, none of the local ones in SGP do anything for me. The one you just went to have some very beautiful stuff! 🙂 How interesting. Will go home and look thru this blog post again 🙂

  5. Hartini

    I havent been to the museum in America, but I’m sure its comparable to the ones in Singapore and Europe right? A friend told me that there is a Museum of Sex there, and you get free souveniers, so that must have been interesting .. Hehehe

    Dont forget that in Singapore, you could enter for free during certain days like public holidays, so its a good chance to explore.

    I like Singapore museums, ever since it was upgraded, it looks even more interesting 🙂


    I like exploring places, so far this year has been quite an experience, learning and discovering new places to go to. Its really due to the internet mostly, reading from blogs of people giving tips on where to go so I feel blessed for that.

    Not like last year when I dont know the language, dont know the area and was too afraid to do anything 😐


    I would love to have a hat made of a puffer fish or even a durian? Oooh, can you image how fast the crowd of Italians will run away when I enter a metro with that? Hahahaha!

    You should go to the museums in Singapore. Honestly since they upgraded a few years ago, there are a lot more activities and displays in there. Its really vibrant. I really recommend it 🙂


    Then come to Italy again twin brother!!!

    I dont know much about King Leopold II. I should read up more about him and his influence in Congo.

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