La testa colossale di Tito nel Museo Nazionale di Napoli: uno scandalo agli albori dell’unità d’Italia
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 121, 2020
This article retraces the story of the transfer of a colossal head of the emperor Titus to Naples. The head was found in 1873 in via Pastrengo during the excavations for the construction of the Ministry of Finance. This transfer remains a dark chapter in the history of archaeological discoveries in Rome, which had been recently proclaimed the capital of Italy. It remains obscure what were the real reasons for this. According to the official motivation, there had been an exchange with the National Museum of Naples that allegedly gave the fragments of the acta fratrum Arvalium destined to the Museo Nazionale Romano, as well as some objects of the «Tahitian savages» and «pieces of worked flint» for the establishment of the Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico, which was named after its founder, Luigi Pigorini. The transfer caused a scandal that had vast political repercussions, widely reported in the press at the time. Yet after a few years, as often happens, the whole affair fell into oblivion. Already in the first publications, just a few decades after his discovery, and until a few years ago, the portrait of Titus was considered of unknown origin.