The Secret Cabinet (Gabbinete) or Secret Room is the name the Bourbon Monarchy gave the private rooms in which they held their fairly extensive collection of erotic or sexual items, mostly deriving from excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Access was limited to only persons of mature age and known morals. The rooms were also called Cabinets of matters reserved or obscene or pornographic. After the revolution of 1848, the government of the monarchy even proposed the destruction of objects, fearful of the implications of their ownership, which would tarnish the monarchy with lasciviousness. The then director of the Royal Bourbon Museum instead had access to the collection terminated, and the entrance door was provided with three different locks, whose keys were held respectively by the Director of the Museum, the Museum Controller, and the Palace Butler. The highlight of the censorship occurred in 1851 when even nude Venus statues were locked up, and the entrance walled up in the hope that the collection would vanish from memory.
In September 1860, when the forces of Garibaldi occupied Naples, he ordered that the collection be made available for the general public to view. Since the Royal Butler was no longer available, they broke into the collection. Limiting viewership and censorship have always been part of the history of the collection. Censorship was restored during the era of the Kingdom of Italy, and peaked during the Fascist period, when visitors to the rooms needed the permission of the Minister of National Education in Rome. Censorship persisted in the postwar period up to 1967, abating only after 1971 when the Ministry was given the new rules to regulate requests for visits and access to the section. Completely rebuilt a few years ago with all of the new criteria, the collection was finally opened to the public in April 2000. Visitors under the age of 14 can tour the exhibit only with an adult.
The Placentarius, the small bronze statue represents a distinctly ithyphallic old nude man who, on the palm of his hand, holds a little silver tray.
Catch the Tour – http://www.rcrusoe.com/itinerary/AIC_Naples2013_13_03_26.pdf