Etruscan Roman Antiquarium Museum – Sasso Pisano
Sasso Pisano is a small fraction of the municipality of Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina, in the province of Pisa and is just a few minutes drive from our hotel in Volterra. Renowned throughout the national territory for the presence of boraciferous heads, emissions of water vapor through cracks in the ground. Although very small in size, the small town in the Val di Cecina has many points of interest, which makes Sasso Pisano a jewel of the land of poets. Among the religious architectures worthy of note are the Church of San Bartolomeo, the Pieve di Commissano with a baptismal font made of Etruscan material and the Church of Michelucci, a well-known Tuscan architect, whose construction seems to have begun around the 60s of the twentieth century.
Sasso Pisano has been frequented since ancient times, with evidence of the Paleolithic age and whose foundation seems to date back to the Etruscans. Very famous among archaeologists and also to those who are not really in the sector, is the Sacred Etruscan and Roman thermal complex of Sasso Pisano, better known by the name of Il Bagnone. This underlines how the effect of the vapors that come out of the earth’s crust, generating the boraciferous puffballs, are a feature that has always been exploited. In fact, the many springs of thermal water have fed numerous wash houses throughout history, as evidenced by the presence of the Bagnone and other medieval wash houses that have been in use up to the present day.
Precisely the Etruscan and Roman Sacred Thermal Complex, which seems to be the largest Etruscan thermal complex, also used by the Romans, has allowed the small hamlet to boast one of the most famous museums and antiquariums on the national scene, especially as regards the chronological period indicated. directly in the name of the complex.
The premises of this beautiful museum are located within the medieval village of Sasso Pisano, offering a unique atmosphere and visiting experience to the visitor interested in the antiquarium. Inside, all the most interesting finds that were found during the archaeological excavation campaigns that affected the spa complex are contained and exhibited. The objects found do not concern only the attendance of the Bagnone, but thanks to some stamps found on the tiles, bent tiles and bricks of the elevations of the buildings, it can be attested that the area was inhabited before the arrival of the Etruscans. In fact, around the spa complex, from certain sources, it is known that these areas were occupied by indigenous peoples.
The rooms of the antiquarium museum house showcases with various objects of Etruscan and Roman origin, including: a beautiful example of a lead and tin statuette representing the goddess Minerva, the equivalent of the Greek Athena, who was the goddess of wisdom, of abundance, medicine and war, according to the cases of veneration. Probably, in this case, being a votive gift, it is believed to have been attributed the divinity of wisdom. Continuing the visit inside the rooms of the museum, we see, in another case, a small bronze donor. This find, almost unique in the Etruscan way, has a clear Volterra imprint, as evidenced by the various comparisons of other bronze productions found in the Bagnone and which are always displayed in the display cases of the antiquarium. The museum’s collection of coins is also rich in specimens, all dating back to the Imperial Roman age, with dating from around the third century AD. The coins can be dated to the imperial period, as they bear the effigy of the emperor in office in that specific period on the obverse.
During the third century AD Rome and her entire empire were ruled by the Severan dynasty. During the Etruscan and Roman periods, many terracotta productions are attested, with local kilns that had the ability to produce many artifacts. This is underlined by the presence, in the display cases of the museum, of a terracotta basin from the Etruscan age and by the presence of some stamps on the roof tiles. The roof tiles are nothing more than flat tiles, with small wings on the sides in brick that had the function of composing small drains, so they had to drain the rainwater to lead them into specific tanks and store them, so as to guarantee the supply of water for all the surrounding population and not only for the inhabitants of the ancient Sasso Pisano.