The Department is responsible for the protection, enhancement and study of Greek and Roman antiquities. The collections, mostly sculptural, are displayed in various sectors of the Vatican Museums, in particular in the Pio Clementino Museum, the Chiaramonti Museum, the New Wing, and the Gregoriano Profano Museum. Its competence extends to the antique sculptures conserved in the Apostolic Palace, in the Vatican Gardens and in the extra-territorial areas of Vatican City State.
In addition, the Department exercises a supervisory role over the archaeological areas in the Vatican (excluding the Necropolis of Saint Peter’s) and those in the extra-territorial zones. Within Vatican City, there is the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis, an archaeological area in large part open to the public and which has a new visitors’ route, extending from the Autoparco sector to Santa Rosa, covering an area of around 1,000 square metres. An extensive educational apparatus, which also includes multimedia support (touch screens, documentary films and virtual reconstructions) accompanies the visitors.
With regard to the extra-territorial properties, the Lateran archaeological area, is directly linked to the Department; it includes the remains of a suburban villa near the ancient via Tuscolana and the subsequent structures of the barracks (castra) of the Equites Singulares beneath the Basilica of St. John. Among the areas of competence, we also mention the underground area of the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the archaeological complex investigated under Palazzo della Cancelleria; finally, at Castel Gandolfo, the monumental structures of the imperial Domitian villa (Albanum), with the remains of the architectural decoration and the ancient sculptural furnishings conserved in the Antiquarium and in the gardens of Villa Barberini.