Welcoming, well-organised, usable, interactive. It may be small, but there are so many important things to see: this is the Museo Civico archeologico (Civic Archaeological Museum) in Cavaion, a Veronese town perched beneath Mount San Michele alla Bastia, in the hinterland of Lake Garda. At night, when it’s lit up, it looks like a nativity scene: timeless, like the panoramic view over the Lake from the Valsorda ag in Ceriel.
[b]Place and Characteres
The Museum is housed in the basement of the Town Hall; a single building, a single location, from which to administer and enhance the area. A good sign, I CARE.
There are two special guides for this visit: the Honorary Inspector of the Authority for Archaeology, Sir Mario Parolotti, who is inextricably linked to local events - the exhibits originate from his discoveries and reports from sites; the young specialist archaeologist, Chiara Reggio. Coming from different professional backgrounds, and from different generations, they are united by their passion for archaeology. The curator is Alessandra Aspes, a renowned researcher in the eld of Prehistory.
It all started with the discovery in 1980 of an Early and Middle Bronze Age settlement (at the turn of the second millennium BC) near the small intermorainic lake of Ca’ Nova. The findings form the first nucleus of the Museum which was set up ten years after, and which conserves, in equal value, the remains of a Roman necropolis and other settlements discovered in Cavaion and the surrounding areas.
[b]ATMOSPHERE AND DETAILS[/b]
The set-up of the museum has been updated, now that it has been open for 25 years.
The entrance hall is devoted to the environment and to archaeological research, with the aim of facilitating understanding and teaching. One of the museum’s most interesting pieces is displayed here: the Roman Stone of Castagnar, a depiction of the journey of the deceased on a oat with wide wheels, showing a young boy in a tunic.
The first room unveils the life of the prehistoric settlement, which flourished for nearly two centuries, at the borders of the intermorenic lake of Cà Nova. Clay production demonstrates the importance of ceramics in everyday life, with a wide range of vases for visitors to admire. Seeing the ‘enigmatic tablets’ takes you far away: “a true language, which took shape at a European level”, explains the archaeologist, “perhaps a system of tesserae hospitales (hospitality tablets)”.
Trade was certainly carried out here, as evidenced by the presence of amber from the Baltic Sea, bronze, copper alloy, and tin from the Alps and Central Europe. A cross-shaped piece of earthenware, on close examination, depicts a series of huts re ected in the water. The exhibits illustrate each village activity: eating and drinking, with cookware and storage items, “decorated with white stone from Monte Moscal, ground up and mixed with water to make a paste” as the Honorary Inspector explains. The wearing of jewellery - amber beads, bracelets and earrings. Farming the land and hunting: Mario Parolotti has reproduced a hypothetical sickle handle with elements made from int. Spinning, weaving, cooking. There are beautiful glass artifacts, including a blown glass bottle, green-tinted opal with a frosted surface. Other exhibits come from S. Andrea d’Incaf (Monte Moscal) and from Monte delle Bionde. The hall devoted to the necropolis of Bossema (3rd-4th century AD), showing two types of burial rites, is outstanding. Cremation: burned bones can be seen here, along with ceramic jars, unguentariums, and bronze coins. Interment: an intact skeleton is laid between the walls of the tombs, with burial recesses adorned with ollette (miniature jars) made from glass. Then there is the villa rustica which was located in Le Fontane, coins from La Prà, the probable Rhaetian home at Monte delle Bionde, the bracelet made from jet, also known as black amber, and many other items besides. On visiting the museum in Cavaion, it becomes clear that this is not a “minor” museum; it is a regional structure, compact in size, explanatory, and emblematic of ancient evidence of an area of great historical and archaeological interest, with its own identity and distinct from the lake, Monte Baldo and South Tyrol areas.
[b]VISITS AND OPENING TIMES [/b]
Opened in 1990 thanks to the collaboration between the Veneto Regional Authority for Archaeology, the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona and the municipality of Cavaion, it is managed by the Associazione Archeologica Cavaionese. It is open every Sunday from 9am till 12; other tours can be arranged by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In summer, the opening hours are extended from Tuesday to Sunday. Tel.(++39) 045 7236127
text: Claudia Farina / foto: Comune Cavaion Archive, Claudia Farina