Over a century of Beauty

entrance of archaeological museumSituated in a position of extraordinary interest for both its history and landscape, the Archaeological Museum conserves Fiesole’s historical treasures, showing visitors all the cultures that have lived in the territory, from the Villanovan period to the Etruscan one and from the Romans to the Lombards. Special attention is paid to the period of antique collecting that brought important artefacts to Fiesole (a stage of the grand tour).

The first museum was established thanks to the discoveries made during excavations in the area of the Roman theatre and to donations made by private citizens; in 1878 the small civic museum was inaugurated inside some of the City Hall’s rooms in Piazza Mino. By 1914 that little museum was like a “messy storehouse” and in the same year the archaeological collection was moved to a new building designed by the architect Ezio Cerpi. The new Museum, situated inside the archaeological area (very close to the Roman Theatre), has neoclassical characteristics and reproduces a ionic temple. The archaeological collection was organised according to the different place of origin of the objects, like a museum of the City.

During the excavations of the archaeological area and the city, the Museum’s collection increased and a refurbishment was necessary (1954). About 30 years later, in 1981, a new setting enlarged and modernised the Archaeological Museum, thanks to the galleries on which the antique section was placed; the space downstairs, instead, was dedicated to the topographic section.

In 1987, Professor Alfiero Costantini donated to the Museum some beautiful pottery from Greece, Magna Greece and the Roman territory: the Costantini Collection was located in a separated building, which was joined to the Museum in 1997 when an underground passage was opened to link the two sides and create a single itinerary for visits.

At present, visitors, entering from the Archaeological Area, can follow an itinerary on several levels:

  • ground floor: the first, the second and the third rooms are dedicated to Fiesole’s territory (Villanovan ceramic, bronze and stone Etruscan and Roman artefacts) and to the objects unearthed during excavations. Part of a bronze lioness in the middle of Room 3 is of particular importance. The small Room 4, instead, preserves some artefacts of the early museum’s collection and prepares visitors for the antique section on the upper floor.
  • galleries: here, visitors can observe the antique section, consisting of the Costantini Collection, Etruscan bucchero (typical Etruscan pottery), coin collection and sculptures, mainly from Rome.
  • underground passage and the new side: these are dedicated to the Lombard section (Medieval period). Some burial stones, unearthed in the Archaeological Area and in the city, are rebuilt in these rooms and many objects contained in the burial sites are shown in their original places.