Arts spanning 5,000 years of European history is showed in Rome for the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.
Inaugurating the show on Friday at Rome's Palazzo Quirinale, his official residence, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano cited great French historian Fernand Braudel as saying "every form of art in Europe goes beyond the threshold of its homeland."
He thanked the 27 EU heads of state for loaning "masterpieces emblematic of their history."
The result is a remarkable selection of works ranging from the Stone Age to the 20th century, starring masters such as Turner, Titian, Velasquez and van Dyck.
The earliest work on display is a Maltese Neolithic statue of a "Fat Lady," symbolizing motherhood and fertility. It dates back to 3,300-2,500 BC.
Another statue bears witness to the elegance, skill and beauty of the classical world.
The show also features an extraordinary vase decorated with the story of the Rape of Europa painted by Asteas, a fourth-century BC artist who lived in the ancient Greek colony of Paestum in southern Italy.
The exhibition runs from March 24 to May 20.