This outstanding museum, based in the 1848 Villa Ilissia, offers exhibition halls, most of them underground, crammed with religious art. The exhibits go chronologically, charting the gradual and fascinating shift from ancient traditions to Christian ones, and the flourishing of a distinctive Byzantine style. Of course there are icons, but also delicate frescoes (some salvaged from a church and installed on floating panels) and more personal remnants of daily life.
The villa grounds, which sit next to Aristotle’s Lyceum, are a series of formal gardens that include ancient ruins, such as a section of the 6th-century-BC Peisistratos aqueduct. A pretty cafe overlooks the greenery.
A joint ticket also covering the National Archaeological Museum, the Epigraphical Museum and the Numismatic Museum costs €15 (€8 for students) and is valid for three days.