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Civic Museums at Eremitani, Archaeological Museum – Padova

Piazza Eremitani 8 – 35121 Padova (PD)
– Fax 049 8204566
Summary


The Archaeological Museum of Padua displays items of great importance coming both from private collections and excavations led by the municipality and by the Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici del Veneto during the last two centuries. The route is arranged along 19 rooms which show step by step the historical and archaeological development of the territory of Padua and display noteworthy finds. The Museum is part of a municipal web which makes available to the tourist, with a single ticket, a wide choice of places of archaeological and artistic interest (Cappella degli Scrovegni and Palazzo Zuckermann).

Collection history

In 1825, nearby the loggia of Palazzo della Ragione, the most ancient public collection of Padua was established. The original core, collected with passion by abbot Furlanetto, contained Venetic, Greek and Latin inscriptions coming from excavations and from private collections, particularly from Alessandro Maggi da Bassano’s collection, formed during the 15th century. Soon the location seemed to be inadequate, for donations were frequent and large; so in 1880 the whole collection was decided to be shift in the fourth cloister of the Basilica del Santo. During the 20th century the items displayed were re-arranged; in 1970, after the return to the friars of the rooms used for the archaeological exposition, a complete revision was carried out; it led in 1985 to a new arrangement inside the old convent of the Eremitani, restored by studio Albini.

Description

The first room is dedicated to Venetic Culture during the Iron Age. Items collected in this room, coming almost exclusively from necropolises, are displayed along three parallel lines: on the right there are about twelve figured grave steles, in the middle of the room there are two big showcases which contain grave goods coming from the urban necropolises of Padua and on the north side there are evidences of Ancient Venetic sanctuaries discovered in Padua and in its territory.
Thirteen rectangular slabs in trachyte or limestone, dating back to a time-span between the 6th and the 1st cent. B.C., belong to the first group; usually they figure a scene of departure, in which the dead is often represented on a horse or chariot; there is also a "speaking inscription" in which the venetic term "ekupetaris" ("lord of the horse" or "horseman") is recurrent. Among the most important there are the stele from Camin (6th cent. B.C.) and the Ostiala Gallenia one (1st cent. B.C.).
In the central cases there are finds coming from three groups of necropolises located in the eastern part of the city, north of the river Meduacus: necropolis of via Loredan, of via S. Massimo-via Tiepolo and of via Ognissanti (Piovego). Incineration is the ritual attested and the funerary outfit was usually made of situlas, fibulas, everyday life objects and other items, gathered together with dead’s ashes inside a dolium put directly in a pit. The ‘Tomba dei vasi borchiati’, discovered in 1974 in via Tiepolo, is surely the richest and most spectacular among the other tombs of the necropolis; its goods, made of 88 clay and bronze objects, show clearly the high level lifestyle reached by the upper class during the end of the 8th cent. B.C. Even the next tombs (6th cent. B.C.) exhibit objects which are distinctive of a high status, as shown by by a necklace made of Baltic amber associated with other necklaces and pendants (Tomb n.5, Necropolis of via Tiepolo) or with ram, horse or other animals clay protomes (Tomb of the horses, Necropolis of via Tiepolo) or with a large bronze belt plate (Necropolis of via Loredan). At the back of the room it is displayed the tomb of a man with a horse (both inhumed), which was discovered in 1988 nearby the Necropolis del Piovego; it shows the important role played by this animal in Venetic culture. The last section of the room is dedicated to symbolic offers (small bronze statues portraying horses, horsemen, warriors, devotees, deities) coming from urban votive offering (San Daniele) and from Colli Euganei (San Pietro Montagnon).

Inside the showcases of this small room it is exposed a collection of small votive bronze statues of Etruscan, Italic or Venetic production; they represent warriors, devotees and deities. The items, made with the lost-wax casting technique, come from occasional excavations or from private collections.

It is the room which introduces the permanent exhibition about the Via Annia. In this ante-room it is explained, through four large panels, how this route assumed a particular importance as an evidence of the process of "romanization" which involved the Venetic area between the 2nd and the 1st cent. B.C. A map displays the hypothetical ancient route of the road, which must have started from a southern centre and, crossing Padua, Altino and Concordia, ended in Aquileia. Nearby these panels it is displayed part of a paved road discovered in 1972 in via Altinate.

The fourth small room plays the role of the junction of the pre-Roman room and the Roman one about the Via Annia. In fact evidences of the passage between the two civilizations are underlined (second half of the 3rd cent. B.C.-1st cent. B.C.). You can perceive the process of "romanization" paticularly if you look at the funerary practices.
In the left case there are the grave goods coming from Tomb 32 and Tomb 132 of the Necropolis of via Tiepolo-via San Massimo in Padua. In particular, the second outfit (beginning of the 3rd cent. B.C.), belonging to a woman of the upper class, shows a singular funerary rite. Inside a pit there were an ossuary with the outfit and a dolium containing a banquet set displayed on three levels: on the lower one there were vases used for food offers; in the middle there were other vases, among which there was an Attic skyphos with black glaze; on the top there were cooking ware and a banquet set in miniature, made with bronze thin sheets.
In the right case there are a thin bronze plate representing a ritual procession, discovered in via Tiepolo-via San Massimo, and grave goods from the "Walter Petron" sports ground (first half of the 3rd cent. B.C.), which are particular for the presence of silver objects, usually uncommon in the venetic centres ("La Tene" fibula with amphora pendant, "saddle" ring). Tomb 30, of the necropolis of Palazzo ex Emo Capodilista (first half of the 2nd cent. B.C.), located in the south-western part of the city, represents the first deposition of arms inside a grave in Padua; it belonged to a celtic warrior integrated inside venetic society.
On the opposite wall there is a plaster cast of the Ostiala Gallenia stele displayed in Room 1.

Both rooms are dedicated to the permanent exposition "Via Annia".
In room 5 the exposition is arranged in sections according to different hypotheses about the route of the road, each showing roman evidences discovered where the road is thought to have been.
The first section is dedicated to the route between Adria and Padua. Among the most important finds related to this route we have a marble portray of Augustus (from Adria), a bronze Venus from Cavarzere loc. Rottanova (1st-2nd cent. A.D.), two funerary monuments (one from Casalserugo, the other from Lion), a limestone votive inscriptionfrom Pozzoveggiani (first half of the 1st cent. A.D.) and two inscribed funerary stelae.
The next section deals with the hypothetical route between Este and Padua. This area has given a lot of finds, mostly epigraphic, a marble male portray (half of the 3rd cent. A.D.) and the very graceful funerary monument (1st cent. A.D.) belonging to the young juggler Claudia Toreuma (a marble cippus richly embellished in the lower part and carved with an evocative inscription in the upper part). The two most important and fruitful centres are connected with the thermal Euganea area: Montegrotto and Abano. Two large showcases display the archaeological finds coming from these two centres.
Room 6 deals with the passage of the Annia road through Patavium. The arrival of the road put the city into a new political and commercial space, which made the city one of the richest of the whole Empire. The entrance to the city must have been located south, in the area occupied by the theatre and by the southern necropolis (Prato della Valle-Corso Vittorio Emanuele II). Finds discovered in this area are connected with the funerary world; they are inscribed stelae, grave goods and a hoard of silver coins dating back to the 2nd-1st cent. B.C. (from Ponte delle Torricelle).
Part of this section is dedicated to the relation between the Annia road and the route of the ancient Medoacus river. One of the most important bridges of Roman Padua is the so called Ponte San Lorenzo, that, with its particular position (just south of the fluvial port, nearby the forum and tangent to two commercial routes), confirms the liveliness of this urban sector, given to commerce. In this room you can admire a reconstructive timber model in 1:20 scale and the plaster casts of the two inscriptions which must have embellished the bridge.
In this part of the exposition there are displayed items coming from the most central part of the city, the one close to the forum and to the fluvial port (via VIII febbraio and via Oberdan, piazza Cavour, piazzetta Pedrocchi and via Garibaldi). The most relevant finds in this area are: the roman copy of a very beautiful hellenistic bust of Sileno, with clear Dionysiac attributes, discovered in via C. Battisti (2nd cent. A.D.); a marble male portray (1st cent. A.D.); some bronze items (among which an auspicious thin plate); clay and glass toilet bottles; lead fistulae aquariae, clay antefixes (1st cent. B.C.-1st cent. A.D.), probably removed from the Roman amphitheatre; funerary stelae and inscrptions; two acephalous female statues, inspired by iconographic models dating back to the 4th cent. B.C. and a polychrome mosaic (half of the 4th cent. A.D.).
The last section of the room deals with the north-eastern span of the route of the road (via Altinate, via Belzoni, via Marzolo, via Orus, via Tiepolo and via Gradenigo), along which there was a wide funerary area. Interesting data come from the building of via Belzoni, where recent excavations (1995-95) have discovered a whole section is devoted to horse graves. The so called "stele of the Centurion", carved as a small temple, dating back to the Augustan Age and discovered in via Orus, is particular: the monument has a niche wholly occupied by the standing figure of the dead (Minucius Lorarius, centurion of the legion Martia).

This room deals with the last part of the via Annia, the one which led from Padua to Aquileia, with a route known better than the previous one, even thanks to the discovery of several miliaria, useful landmarks for ancient travellers. Among them the miliarium from Camin indicates the distance of three miles from the centre of Padua.
Along the route which led to Aquileia it has been discovered the halting place ad Portum (present Porto Menai, Venice), particularly important because it marked the crossroads with tha via Popilia; here the two routes met and prosecuted up to Altino and Aquileia. In the room there are a female portray from Porto Menai and a funerary stele from Altino.

The evidences collected in this room are related with cults, both imported and local. Three votive marble relieves dating back between the end of the 5th cent. B.C. and the end of the 4th cent. B.C. The first, difficult to interpret, shows a barbed man/deity, sitting on a throne (Asclepius) with a sceptre and a patera, and a child (Pluto or a ctonian deity) laying in front of the deity, followed by three offerers. The second relief is carved on both sides and it is surely dedicated to the beneficial deity Asclepius, whose figure and temple dedicated to are represented. The third part of relief must have been offered to the Nymphes, as shown by a standing female figure with peplum and chiton.
Among the local items we can number: two cylindrical votive altars, a slab representing a sacrifice, a series of hermae dedicated to Hermes, Dionysus and Pan. The first, discovered in piazza Cavour, on one side shows a sacrifice, on the other one three ox-skulls with swags and garlands; the second has a central hole possibly connected with Dionysiac rite and it is decorated with dancing Menades.

In this room there are a large number of Roman funerary monuments, three mosaics and some greek relieves of unknown origin.
The three mosaics, arranged on the floor, come from the excavations of Palazzo degli Anziani (a heated bath room), of via C. Battisti and via S. Lucia and date back between the 1st and the 2nd cent. A.D. Mosaics from Padua are almost always without human figures and animals, while geometric and stylized vegetable motifs are widespread. Among the funerary stone items collected in this room there are funerary carved slabs, sarcophagi and altars. Funerary slabs with portrays are arranged along the northern and southern walls of the room. Among the southern ones the Stele degli Oppi, coming from Bassani’s collection and dating back to the1st cent. A.D., is particularly noteworthy. The trachyte gravestone has a box-made nyche in which the four deads recalled by the lower inscription are represented. The Stele di Maxsuma, of uncertain origin (maybe Noventa Vicentina) and dating back to the early imperial age, is particular because the dead woman is represented in half-lenght bust into a nyche bearing an apple, probably connected Dionysiac rites and cults. Among the northern funerary slabs, it is noteworthy the one dedicated to the horse Aegyptus, wich recalls the important role played by this animal even in the Roman world.
Along the western wall there are four cylindrical funerary altars, decorated with floral motifs (garlands), animals (small lions), and human figures (three dancing Menades); they date back between the 1st and the 2nd cent. A.D. Three other funerary altars are located on the opposite side of the room; they are inscribed and decored with different motifs and were put on the base where dead’s ashes were located.
The last type of tomb which is described is the one of sarcophagi, well represented by the front of a wedding-chest made sarcophagus belonged to Publius Aelius Ponticus (end of the 2nd cent. A.D.- beginning of the 3rd cent. A.D., maybe from Ravenna) and made to be built by his mother Aelia Domitia to commemorate her son’s early death as a soldier. Two fragments of marble relieves with Amazonomachy, discovered nearby the high school Tito Livio, belong to this category; they were part of a sarcophagus and then they were probably re-used as architectonical friezes.
The four small and interesting cases located in the centre of the room have been recently set and contain a selection of items from the large necropolis which laid along the via Aurelia (wich put in connection Padua and Asolo), discovered during the nineteenth century nearby the railway station. The finds come from about one hundred of incineration graves belonging to the middle class of Padua. Inside the showcases you find clay ollas used as ossuaries, table ware offered to the deads (plates, cups, jugs, glasses), bronze items (keys, items for personal care, fibulae to keep the clothes on etc.), lamps and different types of glass ware such as toilet bottles, cups (among them one particularly exquisite, decored along the border with a blue string and with withe oblique strings on the body, using the so called "a reticella" technique) and one olla used to conserve dead’s ashes. The head in limestone used as a grave sign and displayed inside the last case is wonderful; it has a long and sharp face , two rows of curls on the forehead, long locks on the sides, mustaches and a thick beard. Some funerary inscriptions displayed in the same room belong to the same necropolis, among which the two belonged to the rich families of Cartorii and Camerii, which produced bricks. Most of the finds date back between the Augustan age and the half of the 2nd cent. A.D., even if there are even more recent items.

The last small room dedicated to the Roman collection deals with the very important funerary monument belonged to the Volumnii (Augustan age), discovered in fragments in an administrative division of S. Pietro in Viminario, near Monselice. The restoration carried out during the ’80s allowed to reform the item and to display into showcases those fragments which, even if part of the monument, didn’t have sure connections with the others. The monument is made of a high base (where it runs the votive inscription with the names of the purchasers and where their remains were kept) on which there is a limestone niche with the portrays of the 10 deads, two of which are lost. Inscriptions below each character allowed to identify busts carved on the left side as not part of the gens Volumnia. This deduction clashes with the lower inscription (hoc monumentum heredem non sequetur), which rules out the presence of foreigners in this commemorative context. In the centre of the upper tympanum it is represented a quadriga running towards the left. The monument expresses different architectural styles, belonging to the medio-Italic tradition (slabs with busts of the deads), to the Microasiatic one and to the Attic one (naiskoi).

In this room there are collected some Egyptian finds coming from the areas of Thebes and Memphis and once part of private collections. Among them it is to be pointed out the important donation given to the museum by Gian Battista Belzoni, consisting of two dioritic statues from Karnak, representing the lion-head deity Sekhmet. In the centre of the room there are two cases containing the mummy coffin with human appearance of Meres Imen (about 600 B.C.), the model of a bivalve sarcophagus with sparrow-hawk appearance and the bottom of a mummy coffin. Additionally on the left wall it is diplayed a written and painted papyrus, part of Horo’s Deads’ Book (Upper Age), with the image of souls being weighted.
Besides the described Egyptian finds, into a case on the side of the entrance there is a very rare and ancient small statue, of Mesopotamian production which represents a male nude character and which dates back to the second half of the 4th millennium B.C. (Uruk period). Besides the one of Padova, there are only three other specimens in the world, kept in Paris and Zurich. The statue may represent an offerer or a high-status dead, maybe a king or a priest.

The room contains different items of Egyptian production, related to different periods.
Inside the first of the two large central cases it is displayed an heterogeneous collection of clay ware, some fragments of stone statues and relieves, a series of small votive bronze statues produced from the 7th cent. B.C., mostly representing deities, and some samples of painted wood; in the second case there are items such as necklaces, scarabs, amulets and Canopic vases (used to preserve the organs pull out durig the process of embalmment).
Inside the back case, on the right wall, a collection of "ushabti" (people who answer) is kept; they particular small statues made as mummies and deposed inside Egyptian tombs to play the role of the dead when he had to work in the fields of the next world.
In the room there are also a funerary stele and a small, but representative, collection of Copt materials, which are to be related with the Egyptian textile production of Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages. They are three fragments of ornamental cloth and two parts of a tunic, donated by cav. Antonio da Casagrande; in addiction there is a head covering of probable Copt origin.

In this room three funerary outfits are collected (Tomb 289, Tomb 274, Tomb 267, Tomb 263, Tomb 221); they come from the Banditaccia necropolis, Bufolareccia area, nearby Cerveteri. The notewothy Etruscan items displayed in the room were donated in 1966 by countess Giacinta Emo Capodilista Ruspoli, owner of the land where the excavations were carried out. The display of these rich outfits (containing almost exclusively ceramic items, particularly Etruscan bucchero) is accompanied by a series of panels with general information about the origin and formation process of the Etruscan people and more specific information about the funerary architecture in Cerveteri.

Items collected in this room were also acquired by the Museum thanks to countess Emo Capodilista, but these finds have been belonging to the Ruspoli’s collection for time before. The chronological span covered by these sporadic items, consisting mainly in bucchero, bronze vases and big braziers with coarse and dark body, is very wide (9th cent. B.C.-2nd cent. B.C.).

In these rooms there are clay items related to the cultural facies described. They also come from private collections in Padova which have already been cited.

The room contains the glyptic collection. Most part of the ancient carved gems dates back to the Roman Age (1st cent B.C.-3rd cent. A.D.) and comes from notary Antonio Piazza’s collection.

In 1994 prof. Calogero Casuccio donated to the Archaeological Museum of Padua his rich collection of 170 items, now collected inside the last room of the museum. Basically it is made of two groups: the one of Greek pottery (Corinthian, Attic Black Figure, Attic Red Figure, Eastern Greek and Lakonian) and the one of Italiot pottery (Apulia Red Figure, Apulia Gnathia style, geometric Daunia, Messapica and Peucezia Black Glaze).
The most important items are are the precious Apulian figured vases, among which there are a beautiful phiale assigned to the "Truro Painter" and a huge crater assigned to the "Copenaghen Painter".

In 1994 it was set and re-ordered, in the main cloister of the old convent, the collection of Roman architectural sporadic finds discovered in the city centre of Patavium (mostly in the Pedrocchi-Cavour area, where the forum and the port were located). The exposition shows the main Roman architectural orders in their basic components: columns, capitals, lintels, friezes and frames. The lapidary displays a rich didactic and illustrative arrangement, with stylistic and typological information. Among the exposed finds it is noteworthy an arm frieze discovered in Riviera Tito Livio, which probably was part of a temple.


Visiting

Admission: Negli orari di apertura

Ticket: Si

Price: Full fare (Palazzo Zuckermann, Civic Museum, Cappella Scrovegni): 13€; full fare (Palazzo Zuckerman and Civic Museum): 10€; reduced fare: 8€; special reduced fare: 6€; special reduced fare for schools: 5€; free admission for children under 6 years of age and people with handicaps. Reductions with Padovacard, Padova Musei and Family Card.

School access

Disabled access

Opening Times

Opening Days
Tipology When Specs
Summer/Winter Tuesday 9.00-19.00
Summer/Winter Wednesday 9.00-19.00
Summer/Winter Thursday 9.00-19.00
Summer/Winter Friday 9.00-19.00
Summer/Winter Saturday 9.00-19.00
Summer/Winter Sunday 9.00-19.00

Recommended tour time (minutes): 120

Services for visitors

Toilet

Bookshop

Rest points

Bar/Resaturant

Educational Services

Guide a stampa
Audio guide
Brochure
Italian

Information boards
There arte both specific black panels in Italian and generic grey panels in Italian and English.

Captions under exhibits
Italian

Multilingual ads: Inglese
Grey panels also in English.

Guided Tours

Educational activities

Educational workshops

Library and documentation centre

Other activities


Bibliography

Moschetti A. 1938, Il Museo Civico di Padova, Padova.
Ghedini F. 1980, Sculture greche e romane del Museo Civico di Padova, Roma .
Musei Civici di Padova. Museo Archeologico. Monumento Funerario dei Volumnii 1986, Padova.
Musei Civici di Padova. Museo Archeologico. Raccolta Etrusca 1986, a cura di Zampieri G., Cisotto Nalon M., Gamba M., Padova.
I Musei Civici agli Eremitani. Padova 1992, a cura di Banzato D., Milano, pp. 7-33.
Padova romana. Testimonianze architettoniche nel nuovo allestimento del Lapidario del Museo Archeologico 1994, a cura di Zampieri G., Cisotto Nalon M., Milano.
Zampieri G. 1994, Il Museo Archeologico di Padova, Milano .
Musei Civici di Padova. Museo Archeologico. Sale di collezione: materiale greco, etrusco, italiota 1995, a cura di Zampieri G., Cisotto Nalon M., Padova .
La collezione Casuccio nel Museo Civico Archeologico di Padova 1996, a cura di Zampieri G., Padova.
Zampieri G. 2000, Claudia Toreuma giocoliera e mima: il monumento funerario, Roma.
Musei e raccolte archeologiche del Veneto 2004, a cura di Di Mauro A., Dosson di Casier, pp. 43-46.
La Via Annia al Museo Archeologico di Padova 2008, a cura di Zampieri G., Padova-Milano.
Bonetto J. 2009, Veneto (Archeologia delle Regioni d’Italia), Roma, pp. 390-396.


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