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For anyone fascinated by historic art and architecture, there has never been any shortage of sights to see and things to do in Bologna, a town whose medieval streets and piazzas brim with palaces, basilicas and galleries. Now there is an added attraction - Egypt: Millennia of Splendour - running from 16 October 2015 to 17 July 2016.
Taking place in the Bologna Archaeological Museum on the Via dell'Archiginnasio, this stunning exhibition supplements the museum's excellent Egyptian collection with 500 priceless treasures from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands, plus prize pieces from the Egyptian Museums of Turin and Florence.
The exhibition consists of seven sections exploring different phases and aspects of ancient Egyptian civilisation, from the development of their arts and crafts, through their centuries of imperial expansion to the decline of the pharaohs under Roman rule.
Among the oldest of the exhibits is a vase decorated with ostriches dating as far back as 3375 BC. There are also some spectacular tomb furnishings, such as a circular alabaster table for the laying out of offerings and the colorful sarcophagus of Peftjauneith, painted with images of Osiris and the sky goddess Nut. In addition, visitors will be able to see exquisite examples of Egyptian metalwork and luxury goods, including some gold items that belonged to a general named Djehuty, most notably a magnificent chest ornament in the shape of a lotus flower.
A highlight of the exhibition is the statue of Treasury Overseer Maya and his wife Merit. Created in about 1320 BC, this limestone sculpture is one of the most important pieces from the Leiden museum and has never before been on loan outside the Netherlands. Not to be missed is a series of bas-reliefs from the tomb of General Horemheb depicting his numerous military exploits - it's the first time these pieces have been brought together under one roof in the two centuries since they were discovered.
A treat for lovers of archaeology, Egypt: Millennia of Splendour has to rank as one of the finest exhibitions in Bologna, if not the whole of Italy. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. at the weekend and holidays. Admission is 13 Euros, with reduced rates for senior citizens and students and free entry for children under the age of 6.