It is pleasant to retrace the historical and artistic events that have shaped the appearance and soul of our town. In fact, the riches of Friuli are small gems, just waiting to be admired and Cividale, with its mysterious, and mystical alleys, historic buildings and glimpses of nature, seems to welcome visitors in an embrace that tastes like home even for those who visit it for the first time. To immerse yourself in the heart of Lombard archeology, in addition to the Tempietto, the next stop has to be surely the National Archaeological Museum.
In 1990, I was 14, and I still remember a major exhibition about the Lombards which was the event of the year. I remember Piazza Duomo invaded by visitors, a long serpentine of people waiting patiently to enter what was for our city, the largest Lombard exhibition.
The building that houses the Museum, known as Palace of the Venetian Provveditori, was built in the sixteenth century, according to a project by Andrea Palladio. It develops on two floors and the facade has nine arches supported by massive pillars that lead into a vast porch and the entrance of the Museum. Alongside precious Roman and early Christian findings from all over Friuli, the real highlight of the Museum is represented by the precious collection from the Lombard period: refined funeral objects, golden coins, weapons, decorated fibulae and precious jewels. These allow you to live a unique experience and to immerse yourself in the world and culture of this people. The seven rooms on the ground floor house stone materials and Roman, Byzantine, early medieval and Romanesque floor mosaics, while the splendid pieces of the Lombard period are collected in the rooms on the first floor.
And it is here that we find the sarcophagus of Duke Gisulfo, found in 1874 in Piazza Paolo Diacono. Although the remains of the buried man went to dust when the sarcophagus was opened, the corpse presented the outline of a human figure, the head facing west rested on a small rise of mortar bricks, the rest of the body, from the shoulders up to his knees, he rested on a fracid table that seemed to be made of fir. The rich funeral equipment with which he was buried is visible, and of note are the golden threads that decorated the sumptuous robe, the ring sealed with a Tiberius coin set , the gold-laminated cross decorated with eight identical heads and the glass bottle, that until a few decades ago contained the original votive water.
Moreover, on the first floor you will find a collection of 56 pieces of Longobard gold, some of which are very rare and are considered some of the most important in the world.
But the most representative jewel of the Lombard people are the S-shaped and stirrup fibulae. These S-shaped fibulae are in gilded in silver and decorated with semiprecious stones and enamels, while the stirrup ones are in gilded silver or iron and enriched with geometric and animal-like ornaments.
These are just some of the elements inside the Museum, listing them all would be boring, because what is more beautiful than seeing them with your own eyes?
Here are are the museum opening hours and contacts:
tel. +39 0432 700700
hours: 9.00-14.00 Monday
8.30-19.30 Tuesday to Sunday