(February 2020, with Kasia)
The National Roman Museum is a gigantic institution spread around Rome, but the largest fragments of it are here – on Quirinale (in a broad sense), where its ridge connects with other ancient hills – near the current Termini station. Here emperor Diocletian built this baths, whose modest remains of large arches and mosaics still overwhelm with space and scale, inspiring the imagination. Michelangelo built in the ruins a large cavernous church and huge cloisters – and still a large part of the ancient arches has been unused and now serves as a museum.
However, the greatest treasures can be found in the nearby Palazzo Massimo, a stately building originally built for the popes, with extremely high floors, on which the great Roman, often inspired by Greek originals, sculptures seem to be crowded anyway. One of the Roman copies of the missing Discobolus, the sleeping Hemaphrodite, the embarrassed Aphrodite, and the resting boxer, normally in a seated pose, now resting on his back for conservation.
Nevertheless, the frescoes and mosaics from the excavated Roman houses are most fascinating, with particular emphasis on the wonderful garden room from the House of Livia, green with lots of unique details. Even in the version transferred to the museum, it gives the impression of relaxation and of a light fresh breeze.