Centrale Montemartini (Rome, Italy)

Centrale Montemartini is an ancient sculpture museum in Rome, located on the Via Ostiense, just outside the Aurelian walls. Set in a former power plant, Centrale Montemartini displays Greek and Roman statues, busts and friezes. It is an annexe of the Capitoline Museums.

Centrale Montemartini was Rome’s first electrical power station when it opened in 1912, and was later converted into a museum of ancient art in the late 1990s. Like the Tate Modern in London, Centrale Montemartini places art in an industrial setting but, unlike the Tate, the imposing machinery has not been moved out. The engines’ grey mass provides a stark contrast to the white marble and offers a unique backdrop for classical art.

Centrale Montemartini has a collection of about four hundred sculptures, reliefs and mosaics dating from the Republican to the late Imperial era. The works of art, exhibited in chronological order, are part of an outstanding collection of classical sculptures from the excavations carried out in Rome between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. The masterpieces were moved here during the reorganisation of the Capitoline Museums in 1997 to create space in the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Museo Nuovo. The Montemartini power plant’s outstanding space made it possible to display monumental sculptures and reconstructions of architectural structures, such as the pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus and the huge mosaic of hunting scenes from Santa Bibiana.

Statue of Aphrodite, replica of the Aphrodite carved by Kallimachos at the end of the 5th century BC, from the Esquiline Hill.
Statue of Aphrodite, replica of the Aphrodite carved by Kallimachos at the end of the 5th century BC, from the Esquiline Hill.

Centrale Montemartini is definitely one of Rome’s most striking exhibition spaces and offers a unique museum experience.

selected masterpieces

The Column Room: displays a rich collection from the Republican era. Exhibited in this room are architectural decorations, a group of sculptures in Peperino tufa (a grey volcanic stone from the Albani Hills), beautiful mosaics with seascape and a series of portraits dating to the 1st century BC.

Architectural decorations from the Republican era and sculptures in Peperino tufa.
Architectural decorations from the Republican era and sculptures in Peperino tufa.
Statue of Orpheus charming the animals in Peperino marble, 2nd century BC, from the Via Tiburtina.
Statue of Orpheus charming the animals in Peperino marble, 2nd century BC, from the Via Tiburtina.
Funerary relief with six figures, from the ramparts of the Porta Flaminia, 1st century BC.
Funerary relief with six figures, from the ramparts of the Porta Flaminia, 1st century BC.
Mosaic depicting a labyrinth surrounded by city walls with towers, 100-80 BC, from Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, excavation of a Republican Domus.
Mosaic depicting a labyrinth surrounded by city walls with towers, 100-80 BC, from Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, excavation of a Republican Domus.

The Engine Room: the largest and most impressive room displaying a series of exquisite marble statues and rare Greek originals, arranged around two huge diesel engines and a steam turbine. Occupying the other end of the room is a reconstruction of the pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosiano, a temple dedicated to Apollo in the Campus Martius.

The Engine Room.
The Engine Room.
The Engine Room.
The Engine Room.
The Engine Room, Imperial portraits and Roman copies of Greek originals.
The Engine Room, Imperial portraits and Roman copies of Greek originals.
Part of a statue of Antinous depicted as Apollo, 130-138 AD, from the Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Part of a statue of Antinous depicted as Apollo, 130-138 AD, from the Via dei Fori Imperiali.
The Engine Room.
The Engine Room.
The reconstructed pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus with sculptures narrating the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons.
The reconstructed pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus with sculptures narrating the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons.
The reconstructed pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus with sculptures narrating the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons, the sculptures are Greek originals (c. 450 - 425 BC) brought to Rome in the Augustan period.
The reconstructed pediment of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus with sculptures narrating the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons. The sculptures are Greek originals (c. 450 – 425 BC) brought to Rome in the Augustan period.
Frieze from the College of the Fabri Tignarii showing a work scene in a carpenter's shop, Flavian Age, from the slopes of the Capitoline Hill.
Frieze from the College of the Fabri Tignarii showing a work scene in a carpenter’s shop, Flavian Age, from the slopes of the Capitoline Hill.
Colossal head of Fortuna Huiusce Diei, from an acrolith statue with uncovered parts in marble and the drapes in bronze, it was meant to be 8m high and dates back to 101 BC, from the sacred area in Largo Argentina.
Colossal head of Fortuna Huiusce Diei, from an acrolith statue with uncovered parts in marble and the drapes in bronze, it was meant to be 8m high and dates back to 101 BC, from the sacred area in Largo Argentina.

The Boiler Room: named after the huge steam boiler dominating the room, this room is home to a number of beautiful statues and decorative sculptures that once adorned the gardens of sumptuous imperial residences (Horti Sallustiani, Horti Liciniani, Horti Lamiani, Horti Caesaris). Funerary monuments from the Ostiense Necropolis are also on display in this room.

The Boiler Room.
The Boiler Room.
Statue of one of Niobe's sons who were killed by Artemis and Apollo, Roman copy after an early Hellenistic statue belonging to a sculptural group, from the Horti of Caesar in Trastevere.
Statue of one of Niobe’s sons who were killed by Artemis and Apollo, Roman copy after an early Hellenistic statue belonging to a sculptural group, from the Horti of Caesar in Trastevere.
Mosaic with hunting scenes, from the Horti Liciniani, early 4th century AD.
Mosaic with hunting scenes, from the Horti Liciniani, early 4th century AD.
The Boiler Room.
The Boiler Room.

Opening hours:
Tuesday-Sunday: 9.00 – 19.00;
24 and 31 December: 9.00 – 14.00;
Last admission 1/2 hour before closing time.

Regular Fees:
Adults € 7,50
Concessions € 6,50
Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID):
Adults € 6,50
Concessions € 5,50

Capitolini Card (Capitoline Museums + Centrale Montemartini – valid 7 days)
Adults € 16,00
Concessions € 14,00
Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID): 
Adults € 15,00
Concessions € 13,00

Website: http://en.centralemontemartini.org/

 

3 thoughts on “Centrale Montemartini (Rome, Italy)

  1. Thank you for this post. The museum is one of the most fascinating in Rome and a favorite place to visit.

    Like

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