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The History

Discover the origin of the ‘Aquae Patavinae’ and the history of the Euganean thermal area...

 

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Scheda sito


Roman storage area and modern architecture at Colle Montirone
Abano Terme, 50 B.C. – beginning of the 1st century A.D. and 19th – 20th century

An ancient storage area was discovered not far from Colle Montirone: it included hundreds of ceramic items (thin-walled cups, animal’s head-shaped “rhytà” and so on), all datable between the second half of the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D.; it was presumably the storehouse of an emporium linked to the nearby thermal water springs.


Storia degli Studi

The ancient finds emerged in 1951, during the construction work of the Due Torri – Morosini Hotel, located in Abano Terme.


Descrizione

Età romana

In the last century, a storage area including numerous and refined ceramic items was discovered beside Colle Montirone: among the finds, approximately a hundred of thin-walled cups, made of a grey or orange paste and signed by the potters Aco, “Acastus”, “Norbanus”, “Diophanes” and “Clemens”, as well as twelve glazed “rhytà”, are worthy of mention.
The storage area was firstly interpreted as an accumulation of votive materials ; today, scholars reckon that it could more likely be the storehouse of an “emporium”, namely a sort of shop where devotees could get what they needed to accomplish sacred rites beside the nearby thermal springs: libations, offerings on altar, drinking of the healthy water by means of a “rhytòn”, gathering and take-away of the beneficial liquid. The same site also gave back a little bronze statue portraying Mercury with his typical bag for money (“marsupium”), perhaps a reference to the commercial use of thermal water.

Età medioevale e moderna

Oggi sul Colle Montirone si trovano dei giardini pubblici: passeggiando per prati e vialetti non è infrequente imbattersi in affioramenti di nuda roccia, testimonianza dell’origine vulcanica del Colle. L’accesso principale è scandito da un colonnato ispirato all’antico ordine corinzio e costruito all’inizio del XX secolo; presso l’ingresso principale si trova una scultura che rappresenta una colonna dorica sormontata da una coppa avvolta tra le spire di un serpente, opera del 1825 di Giuseppe Jappelli per celebrare la venuta dell’Imperatore Francesco I d’Austria. All’epoca e fino a pochi decenni fa sul Colle sgorgavano ancora polle d’acqua termale attorno agli 80° C.
Ai lati dell’ingresso principale dei giardini si trovano la Pinacoteca Civica al Montirone, con opere dei secoli XV – XX, e la Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea.

 

Cronologia

Storage area: 50 B.C. – beginning of the 1st century A.D.
Architecture: 19th – 20th century.

 

Contesto geografico ed urbanistico

The finds come from the area known as Montirone, a flat land located east of Colle Monteortone and north-east of Colle San Daniele.

 

Bibliografia

Bronzi antichi del Museo Archeologico di Padova , a cura di G. Zampieri, B. Lavarone, Roma 2001.
Capuis L., Abano e la zona termale euganea in epoca preromana, in Per una storia di Abano Terme, I. Dall’età preromana al Medioevo, Abano Terme 1983, pp. 11-45.
Lavizzari Pedrazzini M.P., Il deposito del Montirone (Abano), in Quaderni di Archeologia del Veneto XI, 1995, pp. 109-166.
Lazzaro L., Fons Aponi. Abano e Montegrotto nell’antichità, Abano (PD) 1981.
Lazzaro L., Le terme d’Abano nell’antichità, in Per una storia di Abano Terme. Parte Prima. Dall’età preromana al Medioevo, a cura di B. Francisci, Abano 1983, pp. 47-105.
Verdi A., Note storiche sulle sorgenti del Montirone, in Pinacoteca Civica del Montirone, Abano Terme 1997, pp. 54-80.

 
 

Accesso al sito
Site that can’t be visited

Archivio Materiali

Provenienza: Montirone storage area
Cronologia: last decades of the 1st century B.C.


Descrizione
Undamaged pottery vessel (19 x 9,5 cm), glazed (namely, coated with a glass-like transparent film). A Gorgon face is represented on the external surface, beneath the mouth of the vase; on the main body, instead, the same pair of figures recurs three times: a half-naked female shape, faced backwards and holding a big bunch of grapes, and a male shape, covered with a draped garment (presumably, a maenad and the god to whom she was committed, namely Dionysus). A laurel wreath with berries separates the main body from the bottom part of the vase, shaped into an antelope’s head: the spout comes out of the animal’s mouth. The decoration is obtained by mould, that is to say by pouring the clayey mixture into a matrix suitably modelled before the cooking.

Funzione
The vessel shaped into animal protomes have a very ancient origin: traditionally used in Persia, still in the 5th century B.C. they were adopted in Greece, and from here also in the Italic culture. Their Greek name, “rhytà” (rità, plural of “rhyton” = riton), also refers to their ritual function. In thermal context, the rhytà were used to drink the thermal water for therapeutic purposes.


Luogo di Conservazione: Museo Nazionale Atestino – Este (I.G. 6339)
Provenienza: Montirone storage area
Cronologia: last decades of the 1st century B.C.


Descrizione
Almost undamaged ceramic vase (10 x 12 cm), glazed (namely, coated with a glass-like transparent film). On the main body, only the remnants of an acanthus leaf and a berry are still visible; the bottom part of the vase is instead shaped into a horse’s head, presumably represented at a gallop and equipped with a rich harness round its neck. The decoration is obtained by mould, that is to say by pouring the clayey mixture into a matrix suitably modelled before the cooking.

Funzione
The vases shaped into animal protomes have a very ancient origin: traditionally used in Persia, still in the 5th century B.C. they were adopted in Greece, and from here also in the Italic culture. Their Greek name, “rhytà” (rità, plural of “rhyton” = riton), also refers to their ritual function. In thermal context, the rhytà were used to drink the thermal water for therapeutic purposes.


Luogo di Conservazione: Museo Nazionale Atestino – Este (I.G. 6344)
Provenienza: Montirone storage area
Cronologia: last decades of the 1st century B.C.


Descrizione
Undamaged ceramic beaker (13,2 x 7,7 x 4,4 cm); the item can be defined as “thin-walled” owing to the distinctive thickness of its walls. On the external surface, beneath a ring of buds, a first floral pattern with vine-branches getting out of acanthus clusters alternates with a second pattern with fern leaves upon a palmetto surmounted by an amoretto or a bird. On the glass, it is still possible to read – even if fragmentarily – the signature of the potter [C. Aco] Diophanes, who worked in Aco’s workshop.

Funzione
The thin-walled vessels, such as glasses (as in this case) but also other drinking containers like cups and bowls, were part of the most refined table services, widespread in the whole Roman world above all in the second half of the 1st century B.C.; the presence of the potter’s signature, as in this case, makes it possible to determine both the workshop of origin and the manufacturing period of the glass.


Luogo di Conservazione: Museo Nazionale Atestino – Este (I.G. 6551)