Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

Direzione e Uffici
Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Places / External spaces / The Courtyard 9, via Bentivogli

In June 2004, an archaeological itinerary was inaugurated in the renovated Courtyard 9 of via Bentivogli. The renovation of this area, between the streets Musolesi, Bentivogli, Sante Vincenzi and Paolo Fabbri, was decided by ACER Bologna as part of a more general program of redevelopment of settlements in the area "Bolognina" and  "Cirenaica", which represent the most significant places of the "city within a city" that is the heritage of public housing.

The Archaeological Museum was requested to provide consultancy and cultural content to make visible the traces of the city’s oldest history on this site. The site was perfectly suited for the purpose, for the construction of buildings between via Fabbri and via Musolesi led in 1913 to the discovery of an important necropolis of the Villanovan period, constituting a fundamental link for reconstructing the oldest Etruscan period in Bologna.

The grave goods of the over 800 tombs discovered, datable to the century between 900 and 800 bc, were moved to the Museum, where they are still conserved and displayed.

The museum has also preserved a full record of the archaeological dig, undertaken between 1913 and 1915: photographs of the trenches and tombs at the moment of discovery, drawings and plans of the necropolis, plus the diaries of the dig written at the request of Gherado Gherardini, a renowned archaeologist and director of the dig and museum. These records have made it possible to make visible and “current” the past of the area, both as regards its ancient history and the more recent one from the start of the 20th century, in a chronological overview in which the protagonists are the community of people from the past brought into contact with the community of the present.

A layout has been arranged which starts from the moment of the necropolis being discovered, an event made tangible by the life-size reconstruction of a portion of the exploratory trench on the site, with the various types of burial structures, and illustrating the most significant objects found in the necropolis in a series of cabinets displaying perfect copies of the originals conserved in the museum.

A series of drawings showing a reconstruction of the 9th-century bc community in today’s Cyrenaica accompanies the entire visit. The drawings tells the story of an old Etruscan man and his grandson, who in recalling their past describe the community and give meaning to the vases, bronzes and coins displayed (and formerly deposited in the tombs to honour the dead). They reveal the appearance of the former settlement located a few hundred metres to the east of the present court, and suggest the daily lives, activities and features that the past has passed down to us, namely the various aspects of the funerary rites.

The visit, arranged as a sort of continuous dialogue, and disposed around the courtyard open to the public, represents a unique example of open-air museum in the city. It also presents another unusual feature which is that of offering visitors a fragment of ancient history inserted within the context of the life of a community.


External spaces | The Courtyard 9, via Bentivogli

via Bentivogli 34/36
40138 Bologna