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Angera, today a beautiful holiday town on the southern side of Lake Maggiore, has the oldest evidence of human presence in the territory of Varese and was formerly an important traffic station along the fluvio-lacuali commercial routes which straddled the Alps. Archeological excavations have been conducted here since the end of the 19th century, and they have always yielded significant material, carefully collected, studied and displayed to the public in an educational capacity that is updated from year to year. The Archaeological Museum, located in the centre of town, is housed in a beautiful fifteenth century building and collects and displays significant historical and prehistorical objects from the area. The first room is dedicated to prehistory, with displays of objects from the Palaeolithic period to the Copper Age, including those found in the famous Grotta di Angera. In addition to the numerous original finds, a Tactile Table has been set up that allows all visitors to touch, smell and try some prehistoric techniques used at the time in the territory.
The Prehistoric section
The oldest traces of man in the Varese area
In the second room Roman inhabited Angera is illustrated. There is numerous and significant evidence of the culture, religion and structure of the ancient vicus (local Roman adminstration), as well as coins and artifacts that attest to ancient trade relations with Central Europe and the Mediterranean. A section is dedicated to rare and fascinating organic and food remains, including the olla di Cislago, a pot still containing rye seeds, wheat and chestnuts. There is also the famous Panini di Angera, a bread based on the study of excavated Roman bread, which is now reproduced for consumption, and the village is second only to Pompeii in terms of modern production!
The Roman section
The wealth of an agricultural and commercial vicus.
Ample space is dedicated to the Roman necropolis, from which come numerous finds in glass, ceramics and metal, lamps, coins and small pieces of jewellery. From the early Christian cemetery there is a sixth-century marble slab with an inscription in Greek. It is the headstone of a merchant who lived and was buried in Angera but had been born in Syria. The finding confirms the great mobility of people in ancient times across the inhabited world. Under the portico of the ground floor, a beautiful Lapidarium has been set up with statues, altars and fragments of funerary monuments, which is also accessible to the blind.
Fine ceramics and perfume bottles
The rooms also host the MABA, Archaeological Museum of the Children - Angera, a colourful exhibition designed for the needs of children, to make them feel at home in an accessible environment, where they can find visual explanations, stools to reach the highest displays, books and thematic games, to help them learn with their parents.
Children experience clay sculpture
The Museum provides visitors with various publications of local and archaeological interest and is equipped with a lift and toilet facilities for the disabled, an armchair for relaxation and feeding babies, a changing table, and a multifunctional hall for exhibitions, conferences and educational workshops.
Civic Archaeological Museum of Angera
Angera, Via Marconi 2 Tel. 320. 4653416
Winter opening. Wednesday and Thursday 10.00am - 1.00pm
Summer opening. From March 15th to September 14th
Thursday at 10.00-13.00
Saturday and Sunday 2.30-18.30pm
Closing days. From December 20th to January 31st, Easter, April 25th, November 1st, December 8th
How to get here:
By train: get off at Arona and take the boat to Angera.
By car: motorway A8 or A26 Milan-Gravellona Toce, exit at Sesto Calende and continue towards Angera-Laveno on SP 69