Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 8, 2022

Old things in Palermo

There are lots of old things in Palermo but if you want to see some ancient things visit the Archeological Museum. It is the oldest in Sicily and houses one of the richest collections of Punic and Ancient Greek art in Italy.
It was formerly the property of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, begun in the late 16th century. It became home to the museum in 1866. It is named after Antonio Salinas, a famous archeologist who served as its director from 1873 until his death in 1914. He left his major private collection to the museum.

At the entrance is a fountain with turtles. I thought they were part of the fountain until a couple of them moved.

Once inside we came upon a series of large sculptures of gods and an emperor.


Below is Zeus from Solunto dating from 2nd – 1st century BC.

Zeus again, this time from the Augustan age – late 1st centuryBC to beginning 1st AD.

The next one is Claudius, Emperor from 41 to 54 AD.

We moved on to smaller things.  I would wear these earrings happily. They date from the 3rd century BC.

From feet to faces.

The red amphora is from the end of the 5th century.

The pots are from a similar era.


The kidnapping of Persephone from the end of the 6th century BC.

The next room is lined with large pieces of friezes. They are spectacular in their size and detail. They come from the Selinunte Temples in southern Sicily. The one below dates from 540 510 BC.

This one is from 460 – 450BC.

Of course there is lots more to see. It is quite humbling to stand in front of such ancient things  and find them in such good order. Will the things we have created fare so well?
Not everything is old. I spotted these modern pieces in the book shop on the way out.


We ducked in to get out of the rain and were very happy we did so.

Antonio Salinas Regional Archeological Museum is in Via Bara all’Olivella. Don’t miss it if you go to Palermo.



  1. With such a rich and varied history Sicily is a treasure in itself. It is a miracle that they have been able to keep so many antiquities in such a good condition.

    • It is great that there are people with the ability to find and take care of them. Treasures indeed.

  2. Another hidden gem in Palermo is the fabulous collection of old and not-so-old is the Tile Museum in Palermo. Started as a private collection that grew and grew. Visits only by reservation, and run (when we were there) by uni students in architecture and archeology, very dedicated and knowledgeable. Tiles from Roman times to 20th century. Highly recommended.

    • That sounds interesting…next time. The tiles in my apartment are around 100 years old. They are a bit cracked but I love them.

  3. Those artists must have worked so hard to create things. I can’t imagine how arduous it must have been. The results are worthy of having lasted so long.

    • We are lucky they were buried and not discovered until relatively recently.

  4. What a wonderful collection you have shown us in Sicily. It is completely mind blowing.. Cannot believe all this from centuries ago.. I fear our art & architecture will not inspire future Museums.

    • I agree that there might not be too much modern architecture will last this long.

  5. I like the story of the turtles in the fountain. My favorite artifact is the feet:amazingly lifelike.

  6. I really wanted to go to Sicily but we ended up in Portugal instead. One day I’ll hopefully be able to see these treasures in real life! 😀 Thanks for taking us there.

    • We have driven almost all the way around the coast of Sicily and across the centre as well. Ortigia is my favourite place with Scicli as a close second. I have not been to Portugal yet.

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