Roma Capitale
Zètema Progetto Cultura
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You are in: Home » Events and shows » Exhibitions » Per Gioco. The collection of antique toys of the Capitoline Superintendence
Date: from 2020-07-25 to 2021-02-28

Opening times

From Monday to Friday 10.00-19.00
The ticket office closes one hour earlier

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Address: Piazza di San Pantaleo, 10
Zone: Rione Parione (Navona-Campo de' Fiori) (Roma centro)
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Address: Piazza Navona, 2
Zone: Rione Parione (Navona-Campo de' Fiori) (Roma centro)
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Call 060608 every day 9.00 - 19.00

Promoted by Roma Capitale, Department of Cultural Growth - Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Heritage
Edited by Emanuela Lancianese

Exhibition design Enzo Pinci

Organization Zètema Progetto Cultura


Telephone: 060608 tutti i giorni dalle 9.00 alle 19.00; libreria 06 68193002
Email: museodiroma@comune.roma.it ed eventi.aziendali@zetema.it per eventi aziendali privati


The exhibition focuses on the valuable collection of antique toys recently acquired by the Capitoline Superintendence and its exhibition itinerary aims to promote an exhibition that emphasizes the relationship between toys and objects of common use, between playing and real life.

Over 700 specimens of antique toys belonging to the Capitoline Collection animate 22 rooms on the first floor of the museum, accompanying visitors through an exhibition itinerary divided into thematic areas.

The exhibits are mainly related to the years between 1860 and 1930, the so-called “toy golden age". Added to these are the doll's house of the Queen of Sweden, from the late 1600s, and the oldest toys in the collection: two dolls from the pre-Inca period of the 14th-15th century, one of which depicts a mother with her child in her arms .


The six thematic focal points in which the exhibition itinerary is divided - the city and the countryside, street and sky games, the child on the move, the family, work, travel - include different types of playful objects: planes and ships, castles, rural buildings, cars, trains, dollhouses, dolls, magic lanterns, circus and carnival objects, paintings, books, street games, children's transport objects and movement games (sleds, scooters, bikes, prams, rocking horses), didactic games on handicraft work (spinning mills, cast iron cookers, boilers and steam).

Along the 22 exhibition rooms on the first floor of the museum, the joyful machines - a sort of "Wunderkammer" for children and adults which houses real but also virtual toys - alternate with labyrinthine paths that allow a "close" and dynamic view of the toys on display.

THE FIRST SECTION is dedicated to the theme of the family, which includes 79 dolls arranged in an ideal garden and 15 doll houses, with a site specific installation for "the royal doll house" that belonged to the Queen of Sweden. One of the four-floor-high houses on display - built by hand in 1914 by John Carlsen for her little sister - still has a working elevator made from parts of clock mechanisms.

Proceeding, you can admire urban and rural games, with about 70 buildings, castles and bridges, shops, a lighthouse, houses and then stables, farms and animals; then airplanes and ships, with a glider and a big kite, and street games, with spinning tops, ropes, slingshots, balls, target shooting, roller skates.

Then about 60 pieces related to the theme of work follow, with games inspired by the various economic activities of the pre-industrial era or the dawn of industrial civilization. There are spinning mills, looms, electric motors, kitchens, construction toys and mechanics, which in the past had the function of developing artisanal, artistic and domestic skills in children.

The tour continues with a selection of 60 toy cars, including miniature German cars from the 1930s, and an installation with small automatas, street games and miniature horse-drawn carriages. There is no shortage of steam engines, small boilers and trains, some magic lanterns, vision games, with about forty objects related to entertainment, including elements of the circus - juggling clowns, traveling circus with automatas - and the carnival (game football, gallop, mutoscopes or games related to the vision of the pre-cinema) and three carillons.

The children's library is also fascinating with 84 books from the collection selected from pop-up books, “talking” books and fairy tales.

In the last room, an animation video of about seven minutes presents a story inspired by the objects in the collection: toys presented in even the smallest details come to life in a miniature world, against the background of the city immersed in its daily activities. The video was made by the artist Francesco Arcuri - video maker curator of all the visual paths of the exhibition - with two animation techniques: stop motion and 2D digital animation.

The entire exhibition is accompanied by explanatory panels on the meaning of the game, on the history of the collection, with more detailed information on the most valuable pieces.

On the occasion of the exhibition, all the toys were subjected to careful maintenance and restoration work by the Capitoline Superintendence with the collaboration of Zètema Progetto Cultura and the specialist Cataldino Saracino.