From ANSA:

A rare collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan finds went on public display this week, following renovation work at Florence's National Archaeological Museum .

Over 500 precious artefacts, previously kept in storage, are now housed on the second floor of the museum, located through 17 rooms .

"The second floor was actually restructured around ten years ago but until now has only been used to house temporary exhibits," said Carlotta Cianferoni of the museum director's office .

"This reopening will showcase pieces that have long been locked away in the warehouses. They reflect the history of the museum itself, and its growth and development within Palazzo della Crocetta" .

The museum was set up in 1870 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, during the brief period that Florence was capital of the newly united Italy, and merged with a 15-year-old Egyptian collection .

Today, the museum houses one of the most important collections of Etruscan art and artefacts, and has Italy's second largest number of Egyptian finds .

Among the most important pieces on display is a massive bowl known as the "Francois bowl" after the archaeologist who discovered it in western Italy in 1844 .

Dating back to 570BC, it was created by a potter called Ergotimos and decorated by an artist called Kleitias. It is painted with a motif of intricate, detailed black figures from mythology, most of which identified by inscriptions .

There is also an extensive collection of Greek and Roman bronze statues, in a variety of sizes. Once part of the Medici Family's famous collections, they were donated to the museum by Florence's Uffizi Gallery in 1890 .

The selection includes a massive horse's head, which was believed to have once formed part of a Greek equestrian statue, as well as the so-called "Torso of Livorno", part of a body that was in Cosimo de Medici's collection, dating back to the 5th century BC .

The changes in the museum include a brand-new entrance way, with various panels explaining the layouts and contents of the rooms .

The new route through the second floor starts with Etruscan finds and continues through a section devoted to Ancient Greece, including some of the earliest finds from the Cyclades Islands and Cyprus .

The final stage sees a room on one side of the corridor devoted to the Late Bronze Age and the Renaissance, and on the other, bronzes from Roman times .