The Spoleto State Archaeological Museum has been operating since 1985 inside the former Monastery of Sant’Agata, a building of the end of the XIVth century in the area of the Roman Theatre. The monastery saw the settling of a Benedictine community since 1395, that connected the old dwellings of the Corvis, inherited by one of the nuns, to the next parish church of S. Agata, built in the Early Middle Ages on the stage area of the Roman Theatre. It has been recently reorganized.
The first floor features local archaeological finds: that reveal details on the history of the city, from its origins during the Middle Bronze Age, through the pre-Roman period, when it became an important Umbrian settlement, testified to by rich VIIth/VIth-century funerary outfits; the arrival of the Romans, with the foundation of the Latin colony in 241 BC and the establishment of the municipium in 90 BC; Among these local finds, there are limestone blocks (cippi) that served as confines for a sacred wood, consecrated to Jupiter; two such cippi bear a long text in archaeic Latin, the so-called Lex Spoletina, that dictated the rules on wood-cutting, only allowed on the day destined for sacrifices in honour of the deity. A section is dedicated to archaeological interventions performed on Colle Sant’Elia, which is where the Rocca Albornoziana stands. The series of votive bronze statuettes is among the most interesting finds; they date to the VIth/Vth century BC. They represent the oldest evidence of a place of cult on the hill, where during the Roman period, a temple was erected, that left fragments of architectural terrecottae dating to the IIIrd/IInd centuries BC, and by votive offerings in terracotta, portraying parts of the human body and animals, usually produced to invoke the healing of the portrayed subject. They are the typical expression of religious practices that were common among the Romans who had arrived here in 241 BC.
The museum’s second floor features finds coming from the Valnerina, an area that, though part of the Sabine territory, yet had strong cultural ties with Spoleto.
The necropolis in Monteleone di Spoleto was the place of origin of the End-of-the-Bronze-Age cinerary urns (XIth cen) and iron weapons (swords and spears) that identify the deceased as warriors, found in their princely VIth-cen BC graves. The same necropolis is where the famous Chariot of Monteleone, on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum, was found. Another necropolis, in Santa Scolastica, close to Norcia, is the place of origin of funerary outfits dating to the Hellenistic period (IIIrd-Ist cen BC) along with a number of black-painted vases, the typical imitation of the richer bronze and silver tableware.
The final part of the finds come from the Canzio Sapori Collection (1918-2002); he was a Spoletan doctor, fond of local archaeology and paleonthology, who acquired numerous materials from both antique and occasional dealers.
At the museum’s ground floor there is a section dedicated to the Roman Theatre, that introduces to the rest of the monument, brought back to light between the XIXth and XXth centuries, following excavations led by Spoletan archaeologist Giuseppe Sordini.
The theatre was built at the end of the Ist century BC, on an artificial platform delimited by a half-round ambulatory, connected by three accesses to the cavea, over which the audience used to sit.
The central space destined for special guests (orchestra) and the stage area are also maintained; both are embellished by polycrome marble coating, while the stage’s background was dramatically altered during the Middle Ages, because of the construction of the church of Sant’Agata.
Address: Via di Sant’Agata 18A
Ph: 0743 223277
For opening times and fees, please visit Spoleto Card