On a recent trip to Egypt, I had a long lay-over in northern Italy and visited the Egyptian Museum in Torino (Museo Egizio). It was a delightfully surprising collection. I have heard about the museum for many years, but little did I know that it is considered the second largest collection (more than 30,000 items) of Egyptian antiquities, and also it is considered the oldest Egyptian museum, more than 250 years old! Although it was midway through a Tuesday afternoon, the museum was filled with visitors; turns out it is one of the most visited in all of Italy.
The tour of the museum starts on the top floor, and immediately I could tell that it was a different type of collection: lots of pottery, fabric, and wooden artifacts. Winding down through the floors, the display became increasingly breathtaking. The Gallery of Kings was a show-stopper. Even without the artful use of floor to ceiling mirrors, the statues were remarkably intact. Most compelling was the main room that was lined on both sides with tall statues of Sekhmet, incredibly intact and/or restored marvelously by the conservators.
Although the larger pieces stole the show, I was also very happy to find some pottery with images of Bes, one of my favorite gods from Egyptian lore. There was so much to look at and take in, another visit is in order!