The foundation of the Greek colonies in South Italy and Sicily during the 8th-7th cent. B.C. was the origin of a West Greek cultural sphere which for several centuries had a very great influence in the ancient world. The western Greek cities hellenized the indigenous populations in the area surrounding the colonies, but they also influenzed the Etruscan and Roman world, forming a bridge between the cultures of Central Italy and the Greek world. The western Greek colonies were laid out in accordance with well-designed plans with public buildings, impressive fortifications and magnificent Doric temples, of which several are among the best preserved today.
The collections in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek give a fine insight into important aspects of western Greek culture – such as the types of votives in the sanctuaries, the ornamentation of the temples, sepulchral furnishings, marble and bronze sculpture, vase painting and with examples also of local non-Greek ceramics and funeral customs.