Torlonia Marbles – Rome

Off to see the the Torlonia Marbles in Rome. They have been long buried from sight. They are amazing. Here is a great link from BBC about the Marbles.

We drove to Foligno and took the 9:20 Frecciabianca. Comfortable train, fast and with few stops we arrived by 11am. When we exited the Termini Stazione we first saw a vaccination clinic set up in front in the parking lot. I’ve heard Lazio, the Region that Rome is in, is doing very well with the vaccines. Most of the people waiting looked young.

We took a taxi for our 11:30 tour. I bought the tickets online. We’ve only been to Rome four or five times in our lives. This was a very different Rome. As so many have said, it’s empty. Our first trip there many years ago we foolishly drove. When we FINALLY got to our hotel the desk clerks asked “what made you think you could drive in Rome?!” We have avoided it ever since. But yesterday? The taxi zoomed freely down the wide and mostly empty streets. It was a breeze. I said to Luther “we could do this!”.

The taxi let us off at the bottom of Capitoline Hill. Now it is a series of museums but back in the Roman times it was where the Senate met. It’s up high with great views all around. On our way we passed a great viewing point for the Roman Forum. It was empty, save for a couple of families. Once up on top, it again was quiet. As Luther said, “you could hear a mouse dropping…” sorry 😊. We found the entrance and went into the exhibit. Do read the article I linked above to understand where these Marbles came from, how the man who collected them locked them away in a filthy space for years and years. See below picture I borrowed.

Now they shine brilliant, bright white. I found the faces of the statues so expressive. I did take a “few” pictures. So I’ll post some here. Hard to choose which to pick, so I put a lot in. They all come from Rome or Greece and are dated from around 200 BC to 300 AD. I will include text in the captioning under the pictures if I can remember anything.

Old man from Otricoli. Luni Marble.
Frieze detail.
Frieze detail.
Seaport. Greek marble.
This is a magnificent bowl. One piece of marble. Enormous. You can see Luther’s leg just stepping out for reference.
I love the detail of the basket.
Odysseus, escaped from a blind giant by hiding under a sheep. The giant was touching everything that was leaving. All he touched here was a sheep…so Odysseus got away.
Baby strangling a goose.
Guy lost his head…but his nose? I guess maybe they cut it off first. I’m sure there’s a story somewhere.
Statue of a resting goat. Amazing detail. Greek marble.
Of all the statues I’ve ever seen, this is the ONLY one with a ‘stash. Check it out!
Archer. Greek marble.
A satyr, the caption said. I thought they were goat-men, but apparently not always. There were two side by side. They were so relaxed.
I love this statue. Don’t remember what it was called.
Married couple.

We were hungry now and had reserved a table in a restaurant nearby. Ristorante Dulcis in Fundo. Took us a while to figure out how to get off the Capitoline hill and down to the normal streets. On the way we passed a great overlook of the Forum. Amazing. And with only a couple people in it.

Then this place was tucked away on a small, and quiet street. Nice outside space. Yesterday was the day restaurants can serve inside, but I prefer to be outside. As we sat down, I spied, with my little eye, another patron eating a plate of oysters on the half shell. I haven’t had them since my last trip home which was two years ago now. We got menus, in English. I hate English menus. So I asked for Italian ones. But the oysters were nowhere to be seen. The word for oysters is Ostriche. But when I asked they assured me I could get them. So I did! And then a plate of fat noodles with shrimp. Very good. Luther got the antipasto fruiti di mare. Seafood plate. And then a spaghetti with shrimp.

All in all the day in Rome was great fun. We returned on the 5:25 Frecciabianca and were back in Umbria by 7pm. One of the reasons we like it here is that both Rome and Florence are easy day trips. It’s good to visit the big city, but I want to live in a smaller town. For me, big cities are fun only in small doses.
Today is Republic day which commemorates the end of the Monarchy in Italy. The people voted to do away with them. It’s a national holiday. Buona festa della repubblica! 🇮🇹

18 thoughts on “Torlonia Marbles – Rome

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Wasn’t the Prince something!? What a fop. And making a statue of him and stuffing it into the dark would be his just reward. I’m just glad they’ve brought them out into the light of day to be admired as they should be.

  2. Nancy Hampton Post author

    They are always terrified to build something new in Rome for the exact reason you say. There’s so much buried there. I couldn’t help gaping at all the remnants of ancient societies in and amongst the more modern structures. Pretty incredible. I loved the Marbles. They were pretty much unknown. Kept in that dirty storeroom. I’m glad they’ve been cleaned and brought into the light. They are amazing.

  3. Leah

    I loved reading about the Torlonia marbles. Then reading the article from the link you posted was so interesting. My favorite picture was the one of Prince Torlonia on the BBC article. This guy… wow. Very GQ. 😉 I can’t help wishing someone would make a marble stature of him of stick him in a dark warehouse for years. Just feels like poetic justice. Thanks for taking us along (virtually) on your fun day in Rome.

  4. John Bleazard

    Fantastic report of your daytrip to Rome and seeing the Torlonia marbles. I lived in Rome for a year, 1972-73, but never even heard of these treasures. Makes me wonder how much more there is there to uncover. They were just building the first unground subway system when I was there and work was constantly stopped because they kept uncovering “treasures” from ancient times and had to have it all checked out and work resumption approved by the archeological authorities. Thanks again for your posts. They are wonderful.

  5. Nancy Hampton Post author

    We’d love to do that, if you ever organize it let me know. We tried to visit once but kept missing the entrance. It’s not all that easy!

  6. James Lupori

    So glad you were able to make it to see the Marbles! One of these days, we want to organize a tour through Ostia Antica. Think about it!!!

  7. Nancy Hampton Post author

    So glad you liked it! I was happy I got the chance to see these amazing statues!

  8. Nancy Hampton Post author

    I glad you liked the pictures. I’m so glad we took the opportunity to go.

  9. terrylarsoncomcastnet

    Loved your post today. All the great pictures…and the food! It is always so wonderful to get your emails. It transports me back to Italy. And thank you for the link to the exhibit. Wonderful!

  10. louannchapman

    You presented a piece of Rome we had no idea existed! Definitely a place we will visit in the near future! First, we need to get to Italy….hah! No easy feat but it will hopefully get easier as the summer progresses. Thanks Nancy for the beautiful photos of the marble and food! So love your site.

  11. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Right! That’s where I took that photo from. I was surprised. And I just this moment see I left the picture of the forum out! Ack! I’ll put it in now and if you go to the sign you’ll see it.

  12. Nancy Hampton Post author

    The taxi cost €8 – always take one of the official, metered taxis.

  13. Nancy Hampton Post author

    You are right Matt. Even with light traffic parking would have been very hard to find. I hadn’t known of these Marbles before reading about the show.

  14. Eric Rose

    Thanks for the post-Sounds like an amazing exhibit! I love the Capitoline museum, and how if you walk around the back there’s a terrace overlooking the Roman Forum.

  15. Phil

    The exhibition looks very good. How much did the taxi cost from Termini to the Campidoglio? Taxis have a bad reputation in Rome.

  16. Matthew Daub

    I never knew these statues existed! That kid strangling a goose is very strange…. maybe they were just good friends? Must have been great to have Rome almost to yourselves. I still think you were better off taking the train than driving.

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