Museo Sannitico


in short

The idea of a museum collecting the testimonies of the Samnite population was born in the immediate period of post unification and actually materialized in September 1881. The structure was named the Provincial Samnite Museum.
Atrio del museo
© Provincia di Campobasso

Museo Sannitico

in detail

During the Seventies of last century, the collection which had become much depleted due to wartime events and the continued moving from one location to another, was restored and the contents catalogued. Subsequently, in the mid-nineties, the contents of the Museum were placed in the restored Mazzarotta Palace, in the historic centre of Campobasso, and is the current home of the Museum.

The museum is currently under renovation with regards the collections and exhibition criteria. In fact, besides the provincial collection of materials, it will also house objects which were unearthed during recent excavations around the whole of Molise, more specifically in the territory of the Province of Campobasso. It will therefore be possible to present a complete historiography of the Samnites: "The Sannio over the centuries" is the name of the museum itinerary that will follow completion of the works; set on three levels, the museum will, in fact, be divided into five sections organized according to thematic and chronological criteria; along this journey, all materials from both the provincial and the Eliseo collections, will be re-admitted thanks to small donations given to the museum in recent years.  
The first level will be opening immediately, dedicated to the most ancient history of the Samnites, and it has two sections: Along the Adriatic routes and The amber road.
I section: Along the Adriatic routes
It has the oldest settlements of Molise, starting with the village of Campomarino which dates back to the end of the Bronze Age.  Located not far from the Adriatic coast, on a terrace overlooking the coast, it is characterized by an irregular wall, a fence and a moat that surround and defend the structures built within. The cabins are large and rectangular in shape with an apse and are made with wooden poles and covered in clay.  Inside them were found pots for cooking and the consumption of food, tools and objects used for spinning and weaving purposes, fireplaces and stoves for cooking as well as large containers for storing food.  The village was inhabited by a community that lived off agriculture, livestock, hunting and the gathering of wild fruit.  There are numerous remains of wildlife and domestic animals, also many seeds that provide an insight into the activities of man and the food he ate.  Cattle predominate among domestic animals, whereas wild animals include deer and fox.  Next to the cereals (wheat and predominantly barley), which were crushed and ground into flour, there is also an interesting presence of grape seeds that testify to the production of wine from a cultivated vineyard as opposed to a wild one, and the fact that the broad beans and peas were cleaned thoroughly before being stored. In the museum there is a display of utensils and pots of various kinds, as well as a significant portion of the paleosol from this village: these objects come from the hearth area of the cabin.
II section: The amber road
In this section the prominent area is the Frentana of Molise; where some cemeteries were explored, both north and south of the river Biferno,  which unearthed material that was found to be extremely relevant to understanding, not only the rituals practiced, but also the activities undertaken, and generally, the material culture of these peoples in a period between the First Iron Age and the archaic period, ie between the eighth and sixth centuries BC.  The settlements appear closely related to their land and organized to meet the needs for supplies of raw materials and products, according to longitudinal and transverse paths from the north-west and south-east.  Instead the cemeteries are distributed annularly around scenic areas.  More sites can be found in the territory, with the emergence of an elite tribe characterized by economic and social power, the scattered cemeteries tend to dwindle giving way to areas where the rituals of incineration were practiced.
In this section there are materials mainly from the coastal areas including: Termoli, Guglionesi, Larino and San Giuliano di Puglia. These cemeteries show common characteristics ranging from the choice of sites available to the panoramic annular tombs which were probably divided into different family groups. They are characterized by simple ditches of varying depth, covered with slabs or pebbles, which in Larino and perhaps also in Termoli, formed a mound.  The trousseau differs by sex and age, is composed of ornaments, weapons and vessels and we can note that in the presence of the most important graves there were even jars used for banquets and symposium during the ritual of the consumption of wine. Distinguishing features of the female burials of a certain rank is amber, of Baltic origin, in the form of various kinds of pendants and brooches.
Of particolar value and significante are the offensive and defensive weapons found including spears and javelin cusps from various sites in the Molise region, an ancient and rare bronze helmet from Larino dating from the tenth century BC, bronze helmets of various other types placeable between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, and finally some disc-armors with embossed decoration, which were the result of recent discoveries.
The next levels, which will open by 2012, include three other sections: "Gentes fortissimae italiane" (very strong Italian people), is dedicated to the classic Samnite period with places of worship, the settlements and cemeteries; "From the Samnites to the Romans", in which we deal, through a series of finds from settlements in the cemeteries, the issues regarding the end of the Samnite civilization; "The greedy knights", is the section in which there are some splendid specimens of a Lombard necropolis in Campochiaro. 
Museo Sannitico
A magnificent eighteenth century palace of campobassano high bourgeoisie (for the upper classes), is situated in the centre of Campobasso. It is accessed through a sumptuous stone gateway surmounted, with a keystone, by an apotropaic face. The palace, which dates back in its original phase, to the sixteenth century, was originally owned by a religious order or brotherhood, then later in the eighteenth century it became the residence of a wealthy family; its current appearance is the result of a series of interventions, extensions and enlargements in which the great nineteenth century porch and doorway stands out.
The restorations which were done in the seventies have preserved and enhanced the architectural layout of the building, highlighting its evolution over time and at the same time adapting spaces suitable for museum allocation and exhibitions.  Inside, in addition to a well, stone steps and many other objects of historical evidence, which are preserved on site there is also a portion with antique paving stones. 
Ingresso Libero / Free admission
The museum on google maps:


Visitor entrance

Museo Sannitico
Via Chiarizia 12
86100 Campobasso
view on a map

Opening Times

09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 17:30
While the existing door on via Chiarizia, remains functional, the entrance on Piazza S. Leonardo, will also be open to allow the use of lifts for handicapped people. - The exhibition portal for Europe