Hall of the Machines, Montemartini power plant

The size of the two diesel engines present in the room, today completely restored, is impressive. The camshaft of each motor is made from three pieces, whose total weight in 81 tons, and which measure over 20 meters.

The colossal two-speed motors had a total power of 15,000 HP and were constructed by the Franco Tosi of Legnano Company; they were installed on the 21st April 1933, in the presence of Benito Mussolini. A steam turbine is also installed in the room, a genuine antique piece.

Copies of Greek originals
A series of sculptures with various provenances bears witness to two phenomena very wide-spread in Ancient Rome: the habit of collecting antiques and the diffusion of Greek models through copies of the original sculpture.

Next to faithful copies of the most famous originals of Greek art, obtained using molds and instruments of precise measurement, works which are rather re-elaborations of the models, made to suit the tastes of the Roman purchasers and the cultural climate of the era.

Highlights works
Boxer head, Sculpture, From an original of the Vth century BC
Statue of Apollo citaredo, Sculpture, Late-republican period, from an original of the late Vth century BC
Cleopatra portrait, Sculpture, Hellenistic period
Perseus head, Sculpture, From a Greek original of the mid Vth century BC
Athena statue ‘Velletri type’, Sculpture, From an original of the Vth century BC

The Celian Hill
These two female statues in dark stone come from the area of the Military Hospital on the Celian and are of high artistic quality. They were found at the end of the Nineteenth Century, reused in small fragments in a late-antique wall.

This goddess, whose identification is uncertain, is draped in ancient grey cloth. The statue was known as the “Victory of the Simmaci” (literary sources mention it on the Celian Hill), and it is a late Hellenistic original. The statue in prayer in basanite shows Agrippina the younger as an offerant (the head is moulded copy of that on display in the Ny Carsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen) and was probably displayed in the temple of the Divine Claudio on the Celian.

Statua di Agrippina Minore come Orante, Sculpture, Ist century AD.
Statua femminile acefala: ‘Vittoria dei Simmaci’, Sculpture, From a Hellenistic original

The Temple of Apollo Sosiano
A reconstruction of the pediment of the temple of Apollo Sosiano, showing the battle between the Greeks, including Herakles and Theseus, and the Amazons, in the presence of Athena and Nike, occupies a dominant position in the room; the marble sculptures are rare Greek originals, brought from Rome in the Augustan period to decorate a cult building, of which the remains are still visible today near to the Theatre of Marcellus.

The internal decoration of the chamber is also on display. It includes friezes of triumphal processions and scenes of fighting, as well as of a building, hypothetically reconstructed. A small circular monument, from the area between the temple and the Theatre of Marcellus has also been partially reconstructed, which can be tentaively identified as a basin of purifying water mentioned in the written sources.

Highlights works
Fregio con scena di battaglia, Sculpture, Augustan period
Fregio con processione trionfale, Sculpture, Augustan period
Decorazione frontonale: testa di Nike, Sculpture, 450-425 BC
Decorazione frontonale: statua di Teseo, Sculpture, 450-425 BC

The hill was the religious heart of ancient Rome due to the presence of the Temple of Capitoline Jove, the main cult of the city from the time of the last kings. On display are the remains of a number of religious and cult monuments, which were erected in the vicinity and dedicated by foreign peoples and representatives of the most prominent families

Fragments of large statues from a female cult are also displayed, and can be associated with some of the many sacred buildings which stood on the hill.

Highlights works
Colossal head of Hercules, Sculpture, Mid IInd century BC
Statue of Aristogitone, Sculpture, Ist century BC copy of a Greek original of the Vth century BC
Monument of Bocco: frieze with shield and trophies, Sculpture, Ist century BC
Monument of Bocco: frieze with shield held by Vittorie, Sculpture, Ist century BC

The sacred precinct of the Largo Argentina
The four Republiccan era temples which occupied the center of the Largo Argentina precinct were, in ancient times, surrounded by a huge quadrangular portico. As the identifications of the temples are uncertain, they are refered to as A, B, C, and D.

The fragments of a colossal female acrolith, 8m in height, were found near the circular plan temple, called temple B and attributed to Luck Huiusce Diei. It appears to be the temple’s cult statue. A statue of a seated Muse comes from the same area, which must, however, have been part of the set of the nearby Theater of Pompey.

Highlights works
Mars head, Sculpture, Severian copy of a Greek original by Alkamenes of 420 BC
Colossal statue of female divinity: right arm, Sculpture, 101 BC
Colossal statue of female divinity: head, Sculpture, 101 BC
Colossal statue of female divinity: feet, Sculpture, 101 BC

House of the Villa Rivaldi
During the excavations for the creation of the Via dei Fori Imperiali a large and extravagant private residence was brought to light in the garden of the Villa Rivaldi. It was constructed in the mid-first century AD and restored between the mid-second and mid-third centuries AD.

Most of the sculptural decoration comes from this phase. The whole gallery of portraits of emperors, empresses and illustrious personages, and splendid Roman copies and reworkings of Greek originals bears witness to the prestige of the owner of the house.

Highlights works
Apollo head ‘Kassel type’, Sculpture, From a bronze original (460-455 BC) attributed to Phiedias
Antinous statue, Sculpture, Hadrianic period
Icarus statue, Sculpture, From a Vth century BC original
Female portrait, Sculpture, Late IInd – first half of the IIIrd century AD

Montemartini power plant
The Montemartini power station was a thermoelectric power plant on the Via Ostiense in Rome. Following its decommissioning as an electricity production plant, it is now used as a museum forming part of the museum system of Roma Capitale called Musei in Comune. It houses about 400 Roman statues, already exhibited in the Capitoline Museums or recovered from the rich municipal deposits, together with epigraphs and mosaics, in an extraordinary setting of industrial archeology.

The history of the new exhibition space for the Musei Capitolini in the former Giovanni Montemartini Thermoelectric Centre, an extraordinary example of industrial archaeology converted into a museum, began in 1997 with the transfer of hundreds of sculptures to the new location during the restructuring works carried out across much of the Capitoline complex.

To create space in the Museum of the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Museo Nuovo and the Braccio Nuovo, while keeping the works of art accessible to the public, an exhibition was created in 1997 in the restructured rooms of the first public electricity plant in Rome. The exhibition was entitled “The machines and the gods”: it put side by side two diametrically opposed worlds, those of classical art and industrial archaeology. In an atmospheric game of contrasts, the old machinery of electricity production became the backdrop for masterpieces of ancient sculpture and precious goods found in the excavations of the late nineteenth century and the 1930s. The display reconstructs some of the great monumental complexes and illustrates the development of the ancient city from the Republican era to the late imperial age.

The adaption of the building into a museum, the restoration of the machines and the educational sections about industrial archaeology have all been created by ACEA. The outstanding museum space was originally thought of as a temporary solution. However when part of the sculptural collection was returned to the Campidoglio in 2005, on the conclusion of the restructuring works, it was decided to turn the building into a permanent location for a collection of the Museio Capitolini’s most recent acquisitions.

The space is used for continual experiments in possible display methods, particularly those connected to scientific research on the remains; bringing together works from the same area of provenance also allows the links between the museum and the fabric of the ancient city to be continually renewed. The museum itself is part of a wider project to redefine the Ostiense Marconi area, converting it into a cultural centre for the oldest industrial area of Rome (including, as well as the electricity plant, the Slaughter House, the Gasometer, structures from the docks, the old Mira Lanza site and the old General Markets), with the defining structure of the university campus of Roma Tre.