Sculpture of Ulysses | Photo: Fondazione Torlonia Onlus/AFP
Hidden for decades, one of the world’s oldest collections of Roman statues and sculptures is so dazzling that an eminent archaeologist once disguised himself as a garbage collector just to get a glimpse of it.
For decades, a large collection of ancient Roman works was in the private hands of the Torlonia family. This family is one of the richest in Italy, and it made its money in banking in the 18th century. Gradually, its wealthy members bought and collected unique Roman relics. A large part of the items was for years in the basement of the family palace in Trastevere, in the central district of Rome.
Legend has it that the well-known and respected archaeologist Rannuccio Bianchi Bandinelli once disguised himself as a garbage collector just to be able to see the monuments kept in the family’s house.
Ultimately, thanks to the agreement of the Italian Ministry of Culture and the family foundation, the monuments will be exposed to the public.
The collection includes 60 to 90 artefacts that will be on display in Rome in the second half of 2017.
All the time, however, the Italian authorities are trying to recover the statues from private hands. Still no result so far.