Archaeological Museum of Sarsina
A short history
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Dear visitor, this museum is no longer managed by this Archaeological Superintendence of Emilia-Romagna
For further information please contact the following telephone or email

The National Archaeological Museum of Sarsina
Via Cesio Sabino 39
Sarsina (FC)
Phone +39 0547.94641

The archaeological Museum of Sarsina was founded in 1890, when the numerous Latin inscriptions found in the area during the past centuries were for the first time collected and exhibited to the public. Most of them already belonged to the collection of a local humanist, Filippo Antonini.New discoveries later enriched these collections in particular as a result of the archaeological excavations started in 1927 in the Roman necropolis of Pian di Bezzo.
The graveyard area has indeed rendered a great deal of monuments, all exceptionally preserved as they were protected by the thick layer of soil that had drifted over the bottom of the valley following an antique flood.

Particular of Rufus mausoleum (left) - Particular of the "Dyoniso's triumph" mosaic (right)

The Museum, which became a State Museum in 1957, was enlarged and restructured several times, while recent interventions have completely renewed the exhibition areas.
The objects, arranged in thirteen rooms, are all of local provenance and cover a chronological period starting from prehistory up to the early Middle Ages. The richest and most significant records are nonetheless those belonging to the Roman ages, dating from III century B.C. to IV century A.D.
The finds gathered in the inhabited centre and in the surrounding area illustrate the history and features ofthe old Sarsina, the native land of Plautus. The town, that had finally been the county town of the Umbrian people living in the valley of the Savio river, was occupied by the Romans in 266 B.C. and became a prosperous municipality with close trade and cultural relations with the town of Ravenna.

Reconstruction of a tomb

The ground floor of the museum houses the epigraphic material ranging from the numerous gravestones belonging to the oldest nucleus of the museum itself to the sepulchral monuments found in Pian di Bezzo: grave steles, inscribed pillars, which still stand on their original bases, and among these numerous architectonic remnants belonging to major mausoleums.
Two monumental tombs particularly stand out against the others. They date back to the end of I century B.C. and have recently been restored and fully rebuilt: the tomb of Verginius Paetus with a Doric frieze 'dado' and embossed civil and military decorations, and Rufus's imposing mausoleum, over thirteen meters high; a shrine with a pyramidal spire, a rich architectonic decoration and a set of accessory statues. Four of them represent draped figures.
Other inscriptions come from the urban area. They are dedicated to senior local judges, emperors and the gods venerated in the area.
A religious meaning is also to be found in a group of worship statues dating to the Il century A.D., and representing Egyptian and Eastern gods, of which the young Attis with his Phrygian cap stands out.
Public buildings are witnessed by a series of inscriptions referring to the construction of the city walls in I century B.C. and by numerous architectonic frameworks in local stone and marble, such as columns and capitals dating back to the Republican period and the late Imperial Age.
The household field is represented by the big illustrated polychromatic mosaic of the beginning of III century A.D., where a triumphant Dionysus, standing on a chariot pulled by tigers, shows up among minor characters and naturalistic elements.

On the first floor, several collections of materials bear witness to the geological and paleonthologic aspects and the kind of population living in the valley before the proto‑historic period to the Umbrians' conquest. Even in this case, the records dating to the Roman period are the most numerous ones and include also plenty grave stocks coming from Pian di Bezzo and voting offerings found in the thermal sanctuary of Bagno di Romagna.
Among the finds coming from the town, in addition to a sample of building and flooring elements and to some valuable statues, there are the fittings and household goods of two houses dating to the imperial age and including illustrated mosaics, bronze ornaments and table vases made in glazed baked clay and decorated with embossed figures.