- Art & Culture
Civico Museo Archeologico in Angera
Angera, now a splendid holiday destination on the Lombard side of Lago Maggiore, has also provided us with some of the most ancient artefacts relating to the presence of mankind in the area of Varese, and was previously an important crossroads along the lake-river trading routes of the Alps.
Archaeological digs, beginning at the end of the 1800s, often reveal significant objects, carefully collected, studied and exhibited to the public, in educational displays that change year after year.
Civico Museo Archeologico, located in the centre of town, is housed in a lovely Fifteenth century building and collects some of the most important historical finds in the area.
The first room is dedicated to prehistory, with significant artefacts from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Copper Age, including finds in the famous Grotta di Angera. In addition to the many original artefacts, there is a sensory table allowing visitors to touch, smell, and try out different prehistoric techniques discovered in the area.
The second room showcases the Angera in Roman times. There are a number of significant artefacts from the cultures, religion and structure of the ancient vicus, in addition to the coins and other finds demonstrating the ancient trading agreements with central Europe and the Mediterranean. One section is dedicated to rare and fascinating organic and food artefacts, including an earthenware pot from Cislago containing seeds from rye, wheat and chestnuts, and the famous Panini di Angera, making the village second only to Pompei for this type of artefact.
Ample space is dedicated to the Roman Necropolis, the source of a number of artefacts, glassware, ceramics, metals, lamps, coins and jewellery. From the Paleochristian cemetery is a marble slab from the VI century, with a Greek inscription: it is the memorial stone of a merchant who lived and was buried in Angera, but was born in Syria; the find confirms that people have been moving around the entire known world since ancient times. Under the portico on the ground floor, is a Lapidario, with statues, altars, and fragments of memorial, accessible also to visually impaired visitors.
The rooms are also home to MABA, Museo Archeologico dei Bambini – Angera, a colourful display created specifically for children, and to help them feel at ease in an accessible environment, where they can find illustrated descriptions, stools to stand on, books, and games, in order to learn together with their parents.
The Museo Archeologico is located in Palazzo del Pretorio, a building from the Fifteenth century accessed from Via Marconi through an arched doorway made in Angera stone.
The northern side of the small courtyard is decorated with a portico supported on local Angera stone columns, topped with capitals decorated with shields and leaves.
In the Eighteenth century it was the town hall, then in the Nineteenth century it became the magistrates’ court. At the beginning of the Twentieth century, it became the Council Hall, which was then moved after the war. Since 1982, the building has been home to the museum on the ground floor, with its collection of artefacts on the origins and history of Angera.