Museo Archeologico della Maremma

The Museum of Maremma Archaeology and Art

One of the most important collections of Etruscan artifacts are on display here in Grosseto

Thanks to an ecclesiast, Giovanni Chelli (1809 - 1869), the Maremma Archaeology and Art museum in Grosseto was established. At first Chelli started putting together some old objects in the library, which he had opened to the public in March 1860. Around the same time he started collecting archaeological finds to put on display and the museum slowly grew to be what it is today.

In 1923 another ecclesiast held the office of director of the Chelliana library, the civic museum and the picture gallery. His name was Antonio Cappelli (1868 – 1939. Archaeology was just one of Cappelli's many interests. While he was running the library, museum and picture gallery he developed a deep interest in sacred art and as a result he opened a museum of sacred art in August 1933. In January 1992, museum complex was closed for restoration work. It was reopened the 21st of May 1999, enriched by finds from recent excavations.

The first section of the museum is dedicated to all those finds which were originally housed in first civic museum of Grosseto. It contains various objects, most of them bought by Chelli in Tuscany and Rome. A substantial part of this section displays Etruscan cinerary urns from the Hellenistic Age, from Volterra and Chiusi. There are pieces of pottery from Volterra, Volsinii-Orvieto and many other finds from Chiusi. The most important piece of the collection is a bucchero bowl with the 6th century with the Etruscan alphabet written on it. Its provenance is still uncertain, it may be from Roselle or the southern Etruscan area.

SECTION 2: ROSELLE (rooms 2-12)
The exhibition dedicated to the ancient town Roselle is of particular importance. The exhibition shows how the town survived and adapted throughout many historical events, fluctuations in the local economy, changes in town planning and customs. The exhibition starts with a map which shows Roselle and lake Prile which does not exist anymore, as well as its rival town Vetulonia, which was located nearby. First four rooms contain objects that date back to the foundation of Roselle to the Archaic Age. Finds originate from the oval fenced in building and from ancient houses. Votive works and handcrafted objects are also exhibited. Room n.4, which is dedicated to oldest necropolis, contains two large archaic funerary steles decorated with representations of warriors, together with small memorial stones.

Room n.5 displays the remains of some terracotta decorations which are arranged in a way that enables us to reconstruct the structure of some archaic buildings. Then there are few documents dating back to classical period (5th to 4th century), and Hellenistic Age, both of them coincide with the Roman conquest (294 BC). Rooms n.9,10,11 are dedicated to Imperial Age in Roselle. It's worth mentioning the epigraphic part of museum with the exhibition of some Latin inscriptions, a choice of imperial amphorae for wine and oil and a lead pipe (fistula) with a mark on, as a proof that Romans made Roselle honorary colony. Room n.11 contains Roman statues given back by Roselle. In the middle of this room, there are portraits, small sculptures, fragments and finally a plastic model of the original forum and surrounding area. Room n.13 is dedicated to Late Ancient Age up to the abandonment of the town during the Middle Ages.

This section is dedicated to archaeology in the Grosseto area (excluding Roselle) from Prehistory up to late Ancient Age. The first room exhibits documents from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age, followed by an exhibition of Oriental-style objects. Many documents from the Archaic Age are available, some of them about commerce, together with Etruscan, Greek and Carthaginian amphorae and some stone stocks. Two rooms are dedicated to the Roman and Hellenistic Ages (3rd to 1st century) and Etruscan culture (language, writings, funerary objects), as well as to some innovations introduced by conquerors (votive art, rural settlements).

The Roman period provides the opportunity to examine transport and shipment. Apart from amphorae, there are reconstructions of the road network, ports, and landing grounds. The African wreck from Giglio Porto is of particular interest and in fact has its own exhibition area. There are also some other pieces of wreckage from Castiglione della Pescaia. Last room of section n.3 contains all those finds whose origin is chronologically and geographically uncertain.

The first two floors of the Diocesan museum building are full of archaeological finds, whereas the rest of the structure is dedicated to sacred art. The Diocesan museum has been connected to archaeological museum since 1975. The exhibition is chronologically set and it contains private collection of the founder, Monsignor A.Cappelli, which contains works bought especially in Siena and its surrounding area. There are many interesting works of art such as paintings by Sano di Pietro and Berardino Mei. All the works of art taken from diocesan churches are valuable.

They were mostly painted by Sienese artists, who were working for Grosseto at that time. It's worth mentioning the Giudizio Finale (Last Judgement) (13th century), that was located in the church dedicated to San Leonardo, attributed to Guido da Siena or to his school, Cristo in Pieta' (Merciful Christ) by Pietro di Domenico (end of 15th century), la Madonna (Virgin Mary), by Girolamo di Benvenuto (beginning of 16th century), la Madonna delle Ciliege della Sassetta (mid-15th century) from the Cathedral dedicated San Lorenzo, fragments of sculpture decoration of the Cathedral itself, by Agostino di Giovanni (14th century), marble angels, by G.A. and B. Mazzuoli , 1708, which at first were part of the decorations of the altar dedicated to Madonna delle Grazie (Gracious Virgin Mary), dismantled during Duomo restoration at the end of 19th century. A big altarpiece by Giacinto Gimignani from Pistoia (1648), dedicated to Madonna del Carmine, originally comes from other altars, the Madonna con il Bambino (Virgin Mary with Child), and four patron saints of Grosseto, by Ilario Casolani (1630) with a view of the town within Medicean walls. Diocesan Museum also contain liturgical objects, vestments, illuminated manuscripts, all of them proving popular faith.

The last rooms of the museum are dedicated to the history of Grosseto with archaeological finds that date back to Classical Age and which come from excavations in Via Adige, and in Sterpeto and Rugginosa. Then there is a connection with Roselle during early Middle Ages, then graveyards of Grancia and Casette di Mota, and finally finds from Grosseto. The most extensive documentation of the city largely refers to the Late Middle Ages. Of particular archaeological interest is a Renaissance jug manufactured in Montelupo and found in Piazza Dante. There is a small epigraphic section with coats of arms and inscriptions from the town and thermal baths of Roselle. Lastly there are those rooms dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Modern Age with archaeological finds from different towns in Maremma. Objects such as a Renaissance dish decorated with a life episode of Alexander the Great, some bowls for pharmacy (18th century) and finally five sketches of allegorical subjects and classical divinities, attributed to Mazzuoli family, Sienese sculptors (17th century-beginning of 18th century), donated to Museum in 1865, are exhibited.

Strolling through the Maremma's main city
Grosseto is a beautiful city nearly on the edge of the Tuscan region. It is known as the political and cultural center of the Maremma – Tuscany’s wilder, coastal territory, often overlooked by tourists. It’s an ideal base for exploring the surrounding hilltops and sea sections, and has a family-friendly tranquility, as well as unexpected surprises. ...
You might also be interested in