This museum is small but perfectly formed, just like the enigmatic marble figurines from the early Bronze Age that are the centerpiece of its collection. Their stark yet sensual forms inspired modern artists like Picasso, Cy Twombly, and Ai Wei Wei, modern artists whose work is sometimes displayed in juxtaposition with these ancient masterpieces. Thought-provoking temporary exhibitions by international art stars are usually held in the Stathatos Mansion, the neoclassical wing that makes a striking counterpoint to the boxy marble main building, constructed in the 1980s. On the top floor, a virtual tour of everyday life in antiquity sheds light on ancient attitudes to desire and death, religion and warfare.

The calm courtyard café, with its marble benches, floating roof, and wall-to-ceiling plants, serves refined dishes such as shrimp ravioli in a lime bisque and microgreens with grilled beetroot, carrots, and goat cheese. The adjacent shop has an ever-changing collection of gifts so eminently desirable that you’ll end up buying them for yourself. Look for the marble paperweights shaped like doves, jugs with the abstract features of Cycladic statues, and numbered prints of Greek antiquities by American photographer Robert McCabe.

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