Known as the “cradle of the ancient Veneti”, the ancient Ateste, the most populated city among those which were home to a major civilisation of Northern Italy, was settled starting from X century B.C. Located near the banks of the Adige, it owes its name to the great river (Athesis, Ateste, Este) that ran alongside it until the flood of 586 A.D.
Thanks to the position as a connection between Etruria and Europe, the city benefited from trade and cultural exchanges, becoming an important religious and civic centre, the evidence of which has been preserved up to the present day thanks to the archaeological excavation campaigns carried out scientifically since 1876, such as those of the Roman era, and on display in the prestigious National Museum Atestino. Already allied with the Romans, Ateste transforms from a municipium (a community with a degree of autonomy) into a colonia (colony) when veterans of Augustus, who survived the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., were rewarded with the granting of those territories.
Roman civilisation started to spread peacefully. Many important consular roads were built (Via Annia and Via Aemilia-Altinate that led to Aquileia) as well as public and private districts being built.
Within walking distance from the National Museum Atestino, the archaeological area of Via Santo Stefano, already since the late nineteenth century subject to excavation, 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.
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.
In some points of the city instead you can observe some architectural monuments referable to Roman era Este. Along Piazza Maggiore 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 of various purposes and surrounded by 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. Nota come la “culla dei Veneti antichi”, l’antica Ateste, la città più popolata tra quelle cui una delle principali civiltà dell’Italia Settentrionale aveva dato vita a partire dal X sec. a.C., insediandosi nei pressi delle rive dell’Adige, deve il suo nome proprio al grande fiume (Athesis, Ateste, Este) che le scorreva accanto fino all’ esondazione del 586 d.C..