Museo dell’Alto Medioevo, Rome

Museum of Lombard and medieval Italy well worth a visit

A small but interesting museum located in the suburb of EUR, the Museo dell’Alto Medioevo contains exhibits from Dark Age and Medieval Italy, including the fine gold jewellery of the Lombards and early Christian art.

Founded in 1967, the Museo dell’Alto Medioevo is an archaeological museum covering the period at the end of the Roman Empire, from the fourth to the fourteenth century AD. Despite this scope, the collection here only fills a few rooms, and is interesting rather than essential.

The museum’s most important collection, occupying two rooms, is of Lombard grave goods, found in two major necropoli: Nocera Umbra and Castel Trosino. Showing how Germanic influences spread in central Italy during the sixth and seventh centuries, and how they mingled with existing cultures, the finds include exquisite gold jewellery and gems, and elaborate weapons and armour.

Other interesting exhibits include paleo-Christian church decorations including marble capitals and altars, with charming reliefs featuring peacocks, unicorns and deer. There are also medieval ceramics found during excavations of the Roman Forum, and an unusual mosaic floor from a religious foundation in the Roman countryside.

The Museo dell’Alto Medioevo is in the modernist Rome suburb of EUR, at Viale Lincoln 3 (follow a flight of stairs upwards to find the entrance). The Metro station Fermi (Linea B) is a short walk from the museum. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am to 8pm.

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