Museo Pio Clementino

Museo Pio Clementino
Museo Pio Clementino David McSpadden

The Vatican Museums have the largest collection of ancient sculpture in the world, mainly found in Rome and the surrounding areas, most of it displayed in the systematic arrangement designed by Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI from 1769 to 1799. These galleries contain such a wealth of magnificent and significant pieces that even a list of the highlights is a long one. In the Sala a Croce Greca don’t miss the red porphyry sarcophagi of Constantine’s daughter, Constantia, and his mother, St. Helen, both richly decorated with figures and symbols. In the Sala delle Muse look for Belvedere Torso, a first-century-BC work by Apollonius of Athens that was admired by Michelangelo. In the Gabinetto delle Maschere is a mosaic floor of theatrical masks from the Villa Adriana in Tivoli. In the Cortile del Belvedere is one of the most famous statues in the Vatican – the Apollo Belvedere. In the Galleria delle Statue notice the Candelabri Barberini,the finest ancient candelabras known, also from the Villa Adriana at Tivoli. Galleria dei Busti contains, along with lunette frescoes by Pinturicchio, the celebrated Laocoön group, a masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons in a mortal struggle with two huge snakes.

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