via , 23, Palestrina, (Roma)
The Museum is located in the southwest wing of the Episcopal Palace and contains about 600 works that range from ancient art up to precious pieces of church furnishings. In the archaeological section, the Ara delle Vittorie, a sophisticated work dating back to the 2nd-3rd century A.D., and a magnificent sarcophagus of the same period stand out. The remains of 4th century A.D. Christian epigraphy come from the area of the early Christian Sant’Agapito basilica. One of the most important works kept in the museum is Eolo, attributed to Michelangelo, from the church of Maddalena di Capranica Prenestina: a sculpture of refined artistic quality that is an expression of the 16th century art and clientele of the Prenestina area and which remained hidden for a long time. Also important is the Madonna col velo, of the Perugino school. One of the museum’s rooms is dedicated to the Decapitazione di san Gennaro o sant’Agapito, attributed to Caravaggio and returned to Palestrina after many years. The Sala del Tesoro (Treasure Room) preserves the precious bust-reliquary of Saint Agapito dated 1588 and commissioned by Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna, which is chiselled in silver and gold leaves, and other precious liturgical items from the treasure of the Cathedral and churches of the Diocese. Textile art is represented by precious vestments, such as the copes of Cardinals Girolamo Basso della Rovere (1492) and Antonio Barberini junior (17th century). Also worth noting is the 17th century Gesù Bambino dormiente, the Madonna di Loreto in papier-mâché and the Bambola Sacra depicting Maria as a child with dress embroidered in pure gold.