National archaeological museum

National archaeological museum another great museum located right on St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The National Archaeological Museum, known to Venetians as Museo Archeologico Nazionale, originated in 1523. The National Archaeological Museum holds notable collections of 5th and 6th Century Roman and Greek as well as ancient stones, ceramics and coins dating back as far as the 1st Century B.C. Some of the archeological collections from the Correr Museum are also housed here.

Other antiquated items that visitors will happen upon in Venice’s National Archaeological Museum include elegant vases, impeccable ivories, portraits of long-ago Roman emperors, marbles and busts, gems and jewelry. The Neolithic age comes alive here as do numerous treasured relics of Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Tuscan, Roman and Egyptian origins. Visitors will relish in other highlights such as the Armenian-Venetian collection, legal texts dating back to the 17th Century, and bilingual dictionaries.

Throughout the ages wealthy Venetians have contributed precious artifacts to the publicly owned National Archaeological museum.  The museum was willed to the city from Cardinal Domenico Grimani in 1630.  An infamous cast of what was thought to be Grimani Vitellius, an emperor from the 2nd Century B.C., was gifted to the Cardinal in 1523.

The bust is now exhibited within the Archeological Museum in Venice, but art historians believe it is not actually that of Vitellius’.  Rather, they have surmised that the bust represents a high official dating back to 117 A.D. during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian.  Nevertheless, drawings from the late, great Tintoretto’s Renaissance art school support the notion that Tintoretto and his student apprentices found the bust to be a favorite in which to practice their impressive sketches.

Getting there:  Access this awesome museum directly across from Doge’s Palace (Palazza Ducale) on St. Mark’s Square via the Old Library.