The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York City, New York 10028-0198
(212) 570-3951
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest and finest art museums. Its collections include more than two million works of art spanning 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.

As for Italian Art, your palette will be more than satisfied. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a menu that is vast and rich. Like a box of chocolates, let us suggest that you savor one or two exhibits at a time, but come back often. I still remember with excitement the thrill I felt as a child of 10 seeing the Roman statues and relics. I felt I was whisked back to the days of Caesar as I entered the Greek and Roman wing. There is so much to see! Let's take a stroll around the museum and glance at just a few of the sights that await you.

As we enter this impressive building, we first absorb the incredible vastness of the Great Hall. Admission is free but a donation is very gratefully accepted (and well earned!). Check in your coats and off you go! The recently inaugurated new Greek and Roman Wing is the perfect setting for an acclaimed installation of Greek art from prehistoric through classical times, including exceptional sculptures, vases and bronzes. The Roman sculptures, glass, jewelry, gems and bronzes, not to mention the frescoes from the villas of Boscoreale that were destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius, are equally spectacular. And don't forget those crafty Etruscans! Traces of their mastery – including a chariot – are evident as well. If you want to know more about ancient art, you can go upstairs and consult the vast Greek and Roman Study Collection.

Next, we glide into the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts display. Here we see outstanding works of Italian Renaissance sculpture, such as Tullio Lombardo's marble statue of Adam. Tullio was the son of the famous Italian sculptor Pietro Lombardo, who designed The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. Tullio and his brother Antonio were instrumental in the church's decoration. We also see the beginnings of Italian Majolica, as well as several extravagant rooms including an entire boudoir taken from a patrician palazzo in Venice. Perhaps the most stunning room is the actual studio that was used by Federico di Montefeltro, a 15th-century Italian duke. It is entirely constructed of inlaid wood – my favorite piece is the trompe l'oeil bird cage complete with parrot!

I will never forget the Met's Medieval Wing from my childhood. All those ethereal saints and benevolent madonnas and eery crucifixes! Little did I know it was one of the world's finest collections, numbering about 6,000 pieces. They come from all over but many began their lives in Italy. At Christmastime, the the tiered courtyard is embellished by a large tree which is entirely covered with nativity scene figures from 18th-century Naples. I remember as a child gazing in awe at these splendid angels, attendant figures and the Holy Family. The soft strains of ancient music only heighten the atmosphere.

Next in this imaginary tour, where there is no limit to our time or energy, we dash up the majestic flight of stairs to the European Paintings exhibit. There we see many Italian works of art including those by Sandro Botticelli, the early Renaissance painter who spent his life in Florence. He is most known for his work called "Birth of Venus." As we stroll to our right we peak into the Musical Instrument Exhibit to drink in the atmosphere of sound. Here we will find the oldest extant piano, by Bartolomeo Cristofori. Cristofori was a Paduan harpsichord-maker who invented the pianoforte. This particular piece is dated back to 1720.

Amazing! And yet even now we have a craving for more, so we head towards the southern side of the second floor to the Twentieth-Century Hall, where amidst many artists we find another Italian hero, the Futurist Umberto Boccioni, whose works are an extraordinary representation of the dynamics of movement.

There is so much more to see and learn but I must let you do that on your own. It's been fun and I hope you've enjoyed it too.

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