The upper floors of the Regional Archaeological Museum in Aosta house prestigious exhibitions. The building was founded in 1633 by the marquis Pierre-Philibert Roncas and by his wife Emérentienne de Vaudan. Towards the half of the 18th century the monastery assumed the present appearance. The paintings on the façade (of the 19th century) reproduce the coat of arms of the Savoy House and the portraits of the main characters of the Challant House, who distinguished themselves for their military merits.
In the first hall are exhibited tiles and north-african oil lamps coming from regional collections. On the trail of the commercial and cultural axes of the areas of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, as well as following the transmission of megalithic monuments’ models, the exhibition includes some anthropomorphic steles discovered at the extraordinary archaeological site of Saint-Martin-de-Corléans, while in the show-cases are exposed artifacts found in Aosta Valley and dating back to the period going from the Mesolithic to the Salassi era.
Further on, the visit enters the wide space dedicated to Romanization, starting with the model of Augusta Praetoria and the milestone of Constantine, in the past positioned along the Road to Gauls. The two following rooms are reserved to the burial rituals and present some grave goods, together with a reconstruction of a funeral bed found in an incineration tomb in the necropolis of Saint Roch, at the eastern entrance of the roman city. The areas consecrated to the funeral epigraphs and local cults show various pieces, including the famous bronze balteus (belt) with battle scenes between Barbarian and Roman and the silver bust of Jupiter Dolichenus found at the Little St. Bernard Pass with other ritual objects. Public building works are depicted in a collection of prints with the main Aostan monuments, together with fragments of sculptures and frescoes, while everyday life is represented in table and cooking ornaments disposed in the reconstruction of a thermopolium (public place used to serve food and drinks). The roman section ends with the exhibition of personal ornaments and objects related to luxury and well-being.
The Christian-Medieval epoch is represented by the precious 8th-century pulpit found during excavations at Aosta Cathedral and some grave goods from the 4th to the 14th century, including gold decorated glasses and the knight’s sword coming from the Collegiate Church of Sant’Orso.
In the basement area of the Regional Archaeological Museum are conserved the remains of the south-eastern edge of the eastern tower of the Porta Principalis Sinistra, one of the four city gates of Augusta Praetoria, with the Roman levels and the only section of embankment, with the relative counterscarp, still resting on a part of the Roman walls.
The museum finally houses the prestigious “Pautasso” numismatic collection, with coins from the Greek era to the Savoy period. To notice the collection of Celtic, Gallic and Padanian coins.
The hall of the Carugo Collection exhibits findings of Etruscan civilization, of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
A bookshop at the entrance sells the catalogues of all art exhibitions hosted over the years by the Ministry for Education and Culture of the Valle d’Aosta autonomous Region.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.