One of the most important private collections of ancient Hellenic and Roman marble sculptures opened for the first time to the general public in Rome last week. The 90 works from the Torlonia Collection – the most prestigious private collection of Greek-Roman sculptures in the world – opened in the newly rebuilt Palazzo Caffarelli, overlooking the Roman Forum.

The collection began more than a century ago by Prince Alessandro Torlonia. He found many of the pieces on the grounds of his family’s Roman properties. Wealthy from a business relationship with the Vatican, the family purchased other well-known sculpture collections. In 1884, the Prince built his own museum to show off his collection. When the museum closed in 1976, the pieces went into storage.

Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini says the works “take your breath away,”  when he spoke to reporters on Monday. He added that it was unfortunate that COVID-19 safety restrictions would limit the number of people who can visit.

The show will stay open until June 29, 2021. It is the result of public and private cooperation among the culture ministry, the city of Rome, the Torlonia Foundation, and the Roman jeweler Bvlgari.