The Praetorian Palace and the Civic Archaeological Museum
The Praetorian Palace is one of the most prestigious buildings in the historic centre of Montaione. The first documented evidence of the building dates back to the mid-thirteenth century, when the palace was already being used by the government officials of the town. It was the seat of the podestà [chief magistrate] until 1772, and later hosted the Civic Magistracy. The façade of the building is adorned with a series of stone and glazed terracotta coats of arms, which represent some of the families of the personages who held important positions in the government of the municipality over the centuries (the Davanzati, Cateni, Pescioni and Guardini). In 1786, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, stayed in the palace. In honour of this occasion, the authorities had a commemorative marble inscription placed in the east hall on the first floor. Today the building houses the Civic Archaeological Museum on the ground and first floors, while the municipal historical archive is located on the second floor.
A visit to the Civic Archaeological Museum allows you to take a journey back in time through a region that is full of interesting paleontological and archaeological finds, including the remains of Etruscan and Roman settlements. You will also learn about glass and ceramic production, which were very important to the history of Montaione.
The exhibition route follows a chronological order, starting from the large fossilised whale skeleton that dates back to around 4.5-3.9 million years ago, found near Castelfalfi in the 1970s, located near the entrance.
In the first room on the ground floor, you can admire finds from Etruscan and Roman necropolises, which provide a wealth of information on daily life in these settlements. In the region, stelae, cippi and the remains of bucchero ceramics have been found, and numerous cavities in the rock have also been surveyed, which functioned as the “chamber” tombs of at least three necropolises that were in use between the sixth and second century BC. The so-called “Capuchin” tombs date from a later period. The room contains furnishings that were taken from these tombs, such as cinerary urns and ceramic fragments. Among these, the Stela of the Warrior stands out: a large travertine stela from the sixth century BC, which features a portrait of a warrior with a helmet, spear and shield, and an inscription. The second room is dedicated to the settlement of Poggio Carlotta and contains ceramic fragments of grave goods that related to domestic, agricultural and craft activities.
The exhibition continues with finds from the centuries-old site of S. Stefano (from the end of the ninth century BC to the Middle Ages). The first room on the first floor features finds from the Bellafonte site, which came from two kilns that were used to produce Etruscan Hellenistic pottery (fragments of amphorae and ceramic grave goods), and from a deep circular well, which most likely served a rural settlement. The well, whose perimeter has been reconstructed in a reduced scale in the room, was filled with bricks, ceramics and metals between the seventh century BC and the second century AD. In the last room, there are fragments of polychrome mosaic floors from the area of Sant’Antonio, probably belonging to a villa from the Roman imperial period (first-fourth century AD). Finally, the Roman Cistern, one of the most conspicuous Roman remains in the entire Valdelsa region: this room contains a section of the aqueduct that was made up of a terracotta fistulae, which brought water from the cistern to nearby settlements. The archaeological site of the Roman Cistern is open to the public, located about 1 km south of Montaione, along the road to Volterra.
add.: Via Cresci 17/19
dal 1 aprile al 31 ottobre
Lun. ore 16.30-19.30
Mar.-Sab. ore 10.00-13.00
dal 16 maggio al 15 settembre
anche Dom. ore 10.00-13.00
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