Mosaic of the swimmers - second half of I century B.C. - National Museum Atestino of Este courtesy of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism - Polo Museale del Veneto
Este is the fulcrum of the history of the ancient Veneti, whose most representative archaeological remains are conserved in the Atestino National Museum. Living in this region throughout the first millennium B.C., the Veneti were an ancient Italic civilisation, quite peaceful and very industrious. Great farmers, livestock producers and in particular of horses (the horse for the Veneti was nothing less than a sacred animal), they mastered the art of bronze and they were involved in flourishing craft and merchant activities.
The Roman section of the museum illustrates the transformation of the city of Ateste, between I century B.C. and II century A.D, while a small section is dedicated to medieval, Renaissance and modern ceramics.
In 16 different stops, through a series of panels located in various points of archaeological interest spread throughout the city over a range of about 6 km, the itinerary touches the places of important archaeological discoveries, allowing us to understand the context of the ancient settlement of Este in the pre-Roman and Roman era. The panels, placed in accessible and welcoming points, show the essential information on the archaeological site and an illustrative apparatus composed of photographs and drawings. Even though for the most part the remains are not visible, they are certainly still able to be narrated and their contexts of reference (settlement, necropolis, shrines) will come to life once again in the artefacts preserved in the National Museum Atestino. In some points of the city you can instead observe some architectural monuments referable to Roman era Este. Along Piazza Maggiore, near Piazza G. Matteotti, there are some architectural elements coming from the locality “all’Olmo”, the area where the monumental centre has been identified, with the forum surrounded by public buildings for various purposes and marked by the presence of a grid of streets that are orthogonal between one another.
Behind the apse of the Church of the Beata Vergine della Salute there is the arch of a bridge from the Roman era, probably once crossing the Adige, which passed to the south of the city.
In the city there are also two archaeological areas that can be visited externally: the proto-historic necropolis of “Casa di Ricovero” in Via Santo Stefano 11 and the Roman residential district of Via Tiro a Segno.
Archeological areas of Via Santo Stefano 11 and Via Tiro a Segno
There have been many activities aimed at letting the public know and appreciate the two archaeological areas, related to the essential connection to the National Museum Atestino and designed, with proposals and diversified instruments, to appeal to every type of public: from the world of the schools to that of tourism.
Within walking distance of the National Museum Atestino, the archaeological area of Via Santo Stefano, already since the late nineteenth century subject to excavation campaigns, conserves the remains of an important prehistoric necropolis, also known as the Casa di Ricovero, which has brought to light hundreds of tomb complexes dating from VIII to III century B.C., among which the extraordinary burial place of Nerka, but also tombs from the Roman era. After an important intervention of restoration work, today the area is accessible to the public via a path without architectural barriers that allows you to grasp the planimetric development of the necropolis between the end of VII and VI century B.C., with its articulation in circles of limestone slabs, structures in limestone and cippuses with the function of delimiting the external borders.
The area is covered and free of architectural barriers. Pets are welcome on a leash or carried in one’s arms/bag.
The archaeological area of Via Tiro a Segno has instead, in subsequent excavation campaigns of 1967, 1972 and 1974, brought to light the remains of a residential quarter of I century A.D. bordered by roads on which there are three residences, in which also commercial activities were carried out. Like other urban districts identified, it revolved around the town’s forum and was located within walking distance of the Adige River that entered in the western sector of the city coming from Montagnana. The area is grassy and free of architectural barriers. Pets are welcome on a leash or carried in one’s arms/bag.