About the Museum
The National Museum in Reggio (Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria) is arguably the region’s most important tourist destination, and many travelers visit Reggio purely to see the museum. As well as the Riace Bronzes, the museum holds a superb collection of exhibits from Rhegion and other Greek sites in Calabria, including Locri. The bronze statues are in pride of place in a room shared with another lovely bronze sculpture, the head of a philosopher. The museum is closed on Mondays and is located on Piazza de Nava, at the northern end of the town centre, close to the seafront. The nearest station is Reggio Calabria. The grand museum building was designed in the Rome’s EUR district.
Bronze Greek statues
The Ancient Greek town which stood in the area, Rhegion, was an important part of Magna Graecia, the Greek colonization of Italy. The site has had obvious strategic importance over the centuries due to its proximity to Sicily and the shipping route through the Strait of Messina. The two famous Greek bronze statues in the museum were found in the sea fifty miles away, near a village after which they are named: the Riace Bronzes, the Bronzi di Riace. These are larger than life-size sculptures of heroic warriors. There is speculation about their origins, creator and significance, but whatever their story, the beautiful and rare mementoes from the past.
The Bronzes, discovered on the Ionian Sea floor, were suddenly the subject of international discussion in the summer of 1972. As they reconstructed the history, scholars maintained that the statues had been aboard a ship sinking during their transport, and were the victims of a decision to lighten the weight on board. After the first series of restorations on the Bronzes in Florence (1975-1980), they were eventually relocated to their current and more adequate environment, where they could shine in their entire splendor.
The two statues are approximately 6.6 ft tall (one is slightly loftier than the other), and weigh around 353 lbs. Originally anchored on leadcolored bases, the bronzes depict two men, completely nude except for their armor: shield, lance and helmet. Their powerful musculature is rendered with a mighty vigor, while their anatomical detail – reproduced with care – highlights subcutaneous veins on the hands and feet. Their hair, eyes and teeth, in silver foil, are so welldone as to render the pair resoundingly true to life. For natives to Reggio, the bronzes are iconic of their city; at the same time.
Location: Piazza Giuseppe De Nava, 26, 89123 Reggio Calabria
Nearby sights: Lungomare Falcomata, Basilica Cattedrale di Reggio Calabria Maria SS Asunta, Rabarama Sculptures
How to get there: Reggio Calabria station
Nearby hotels: Grand Hotel Excelsior, Siracusa Luxury Apartment, Townhouse Morgana
Tel.: +390 965 81 22 55
Official website: http://www.archeocalabria.beniculturali.it/