The National Atestino Museum belongs to the architectural complex comprising the Ezzelinian Walls, Carrarese Castle and the Mocenigo Palace-Museum, which offer insights into the different historical periods the city has stood through, from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Within its 11 rooms, events from before the Iron Age or Roman period are documented through a vast collection of exhibits, the heritage of one of the most renowned museums in northern Italy.
The various protohistoric, Paleovenetian and Roman exhibits come from 19th-century excavations conducted in Este, Lozzo, Arquà and in many other places of Bassa Padovana. It was initially established as the Civic Museum in 1834, displaying a collection of 89 Roman tombstones donated by famous "atestines" personalities Isidoro Alessi and Giorgio Contarini.
The museum was originally housed in the Oratory of Santa Maria dei Battuti before being moved to the Mocenigo Palace-Museum due to the large amount of material discovered during excavations, increased by the first findings of pre-Roman tombs. In 1902, it became the national archaeological museum.
The National Atestino Museum in Este is the most important museum in the Euganean area, and its large archaeological collection is among the most significant in the region and Italy as a whole. It works to acquire, carefully conserve, catalogue and exhibit artefacts from the area for the purposes of education and study. It also aims to promote the history of the ancient Veneti: the artefacts found document their existence as far back as the Iron Age (900-200 BC), as well as the presence of Etruscans, Greeks and Celts. As far back as ancient Rome, Veneto was home to important cities, rich testimonies of which are still preserved in Este and Altino, the Roman city that gave rise to Venice.
The exhibition is displayed in chronological order, from the oldest to the most recent artefacts, divided by themes ranging from daily life, to customs and traditions, to religious and funerary practices. The recommended tour begins on the first floor with the pre-protohistoric collections and ends on the ground floor with the Roman collections, in addition to a small but prestigious medieval-modern section.
Each room is equipped with practical information cards that can help to facilitate your visit and teach you more about the various themes. To name but a few of the most important finds, don’t miss the Situla Benvenuti,became a symbol of the ancient Veneti, a masterpiece of Atestine art, one of only three known gold medallions coined under Augustus in 2 BC, the Roman funerary stele depicting a person wearing a toga, and Cima da Conegliano’s oil on panel painting of the Madonna and Child.