La Centrale Montemartini
It's a weird juxtaposition, but there's something really appealing about Rome's Centrale Montemartini. A collection of Roman antiquities displayed throughout the turbines and pistons of a disused factory.
In 1997, the Capitoline Museums were being reorganized and 400 statues of Roman gods, goddesses, heroes, mythological creatures and emperors, as well as tombs, busts and mosaics, needed a new home.
The Acea power station in southern Rome, in active use between the 1890s and the 1930s, became that home. At first conceived as a temporary exhibition space, it has now become permanent.
Some artefacts have been returned to their original homes, but some have stayed – and other new acquisitions have joined them.
The museum juxtaposes the two diametrically opposed worlds of classical archeology and industrial archeology. It's like exhibiting layers of the city's past, one on top of the other.
Like the Tate Modern in London, it displays the city's industrial history but, unlike the Tate, its contents face the other direction, the classical era. Inspired – and inspiring. RM
Images: La Centrale Montemartini