Museum

The Museo Nazionale Atestino (National Atestinian Museum) was established in 1834 as Museo Civico Lapidario (Municipal Epigraphic Museum) and since 1902 it has been located in the sixteenth century prestigious palace of the Venetian family of the Mocenigos. Its facade contains a tract of the Carraresis’ fourteenth century castle walls.

The museum exhibition is displayed on two floors according to chronology and types of artifacts.

On the first floor there are the most representative archeological artifacts of the Venetians, who inhabited the region during the 1st Millennium b.C.

Room I is dedicated to some prehistorical findings from the territory around Este and, in particular, from the Euganean Hills; among these, the remains from the pile-dwelling of Arquà Petrarca, which is a UNESCO heritage site.

Room II shows the pile-dwelling and activities (metallurgy, spinning, agriculture, breeding, trade, pottery, horn working and so on) of the ancient Venetians, in Este as well as in other towns in Veneto such as Montagnana and Megliadino San Fidenzio.

Room III exhibits items coming from the rich necropolises of Este, which show the development of the ancient civilization, from the aristocracy of Homeric tradition to important families dealing with prosperous trade and craftsmanship; among these artifacts there are the most famous gems of the museum, in particular the Benvenuti Situla, a masterpiece made of bronze foil from the seventh century b.C., the grave Pelà 2 with the waterbird-shaped vase and the Alfonsi vase decorated with human and animal figures painted in red.

In Room IV there are materials from the sanctuaries placed in the suburbs of the ancient city of Este; among these are ex-votos, foils and bronze objects, in particular the small statue of the “Goddess of Caldevigo”. The extraordinary styli and alphabetical tablets, which were offered to the goddess Reitia, show the great importance that writing and its teaching had among ancient Venetians.

Room V includes some burials from other Venetian sites, such as Arquà Petrarca, Saletto and Montagnana.

The ground floor is dedicated to the rich collections of the Roman centre of Ateste.

Room VI shows the first evidences of the Romanization of the area and even the most recent grave of Ateste, the magnificent grave of Nerka Trostiaia, with a set of 120 items following the original display.

Room VII recreates the life in Ateste through materials from the town and its sanctuaries, such as the significant gold medallion of Augustus, one of the only three pieces of that kind.

Room VIII is dedicated to memorial stones, steles and grave goods from Roman necropolises, such as the interesting grave where a doctor was buried with all the tools of the job and an extraordinary portable sundial.

In Room IX and X there are materials related to everyday life, building materials, pots, amphorae but also luxury objects such as jewels, glassware, bronze furniture ornaments. In the middle of Room X there is a splendid mosaic floor with white and black tiles and, above all, a rare frescoed ceiling from the Domus of Serraglio Albrizzi.

Room XI shows a sizeable collection of local pottery artifacts from the High Middle Ages to the Modern Age, in particular the rich selection of precious products from the nineteenth century by Franchini manufacture, in addition to an important Virgin with child, painted in 1504 by Cima da Conegliano.