The museum of Diano Marina: the archaeological section

Detail of a showcase inside the civic museum of Diano Marina

Local History

The museum of Diano Marina: the archaeological section

April 28, 2021

Diano Marina is known to most people for its crystal clear sea, which has earned it the well-deserved blue flag. Every so often, however, it is worth turning to the past to find traces of the history that has passed through these places.

An idea could be to visit the Museum of Lucus Bormani; you will be surprised to know how lively life was in the Gulf of Diano two thousand and more years ago!


Read also  -  Diano Marina: Blue flag 2020 in Liguria


The Park Palace in Diano Marina

Il The Civic Museum of Diano Marina is located inside the Palace of the Park and consists of two other parts - in addition to the archaeological section - both on the ground floor: one is dedicated to the Risorgimento heroes Andrea Rossi and Nicola Ardoino while the other, immediately at the entrance, hosts the mineralogical collection De Cavero.

To access it, one crosses a small botanical garden with some benches and flower beds. The building is an elegant building of the second half of the nineteenth century, overlooking the waterfront and structured on three floors. Inside, frescoes and precious floors testify the taste of the ancient owners.

In addition to the Civic Museum, the Palace also houses the municipal library and an exhibition and conference room.

The courtyard at the entrance of the civic museum

The Archaeological Museum

A flight of stairs leads us to the second floor, where we find the entrance of the Archaeological Museum. We discover that the setting up of the museum dates back to 2004 and has been taken care of by the Institute of Ligurian Studies: through nine exhibition halls and a multimedia one, the history of the territory is plumbed from the prehistoric beginnings to the late Roman period.

A series of didactic panels arranged in each room facilitates our journey and clearly illustrates the finds preserved and their context. But for any further investigation and curiosity, the staff is always available to answer all our questions.

The first rooms: from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age

We start from very distant times with the first room in which fossils, animal remains and tools dating back to the Paleolithic era are on display. An interesting paleontological collection donated by the Diano researcher Francesco Biga gives us, instead, a large number of marine fossils coming from the villages of San Bartolomeo al Mare and Diano Castello.

Continuing in the second room we discover that a small coastal settlement was present, between Diano Marina and San Bartolomeo al Mare, already in the Bronze Age (XVII - X century B.C.).

The objects inside the showcases give us back the everyday life of about 3500 years ago: a pin, a button, a spindle, a container decorated with finger pressure and a bronze axe with wings coming from Diano Arentino.

We go to the third room dedicated to the Iron Age (IX - II century B.C.). From this period, which precedes the Romanization, there are still many finds and two hearths coming from via Villebone (Diano Marina), demonstrating how flourishing the territory of the Gulf of Diano must have been at that time.

Roman Liguria: the Lucus Bormani

The following rooms are dedicated, instead, to the Roman domination. In this period the territory of Diano begins to become a very popular place. Between Capo Berta and Capo Cervo, in fact, historical sources identify the Lucus Bormani, a mansio that offered accommodation and refreshment to anyone traveling along the Via Iulia Augusta. The resin cast of the milestone that we see in the fourth room (the original is located in Chiappa, a hamlet of San Bartolomeo al Mare), testifies precisely this link with the Roman road system.


Read also  -  The hamlets and villages of San Bartolomeo al Mare


The room dedicated to the reproduction of the memorial stone of Chiappa

Liguria, as we know, was a land of navigators and merchants, even before the birth of Christopher Columbus. In the fifth room, we can see how, already in ancient times, commercial traffic by sea was very active. Here we find, in fact, the illustration of the wreck of the ship "a dolia" sunk in the Gulf of Diano in the first century A.D. and the many amphorae which were part of the cargo.

Reading between the panels we learn that the fulcrum of the Lucus Bormani was found in an excavation in the locality of La Rovere in San Bartolomeo al Mare, from which come the numerous finds displayed in the museum's showcases. These are tableware such as jugs, cups, vases, mortars and amphorae that indirectly tell us about Roman conviviality.

Amphorae from the Diano Marina wreck, in the position in which they were stowed

The sacred wood

But here we come to the most evocative part of the museum. We find ourselves in front of the entrance to a semi-dark room. To welcome us, there is a cartoon of the goddess Diana and, all around, the reproduction of the wood that the ancient Ligurians had dedicated to the pre-Roman divinity Borman. This cult must have been very important, if the Romans couldn't do anything else but superimpose on it the cult of the goddess Diana, who was also strictly linked to woods and springs.

The room where the sacred wood is reproduced

Late Romanity

Our journey is not over yet. The last two rooms are still waiting for us, where we find objects of daily use from the late phase of the Lucus Bormani settlement. The mansio was abandoned around the V-VII century AD, when the coast became a dangerous place because of the frequent barbarian raids and began the phenomenon of encastellation in the hinterland.

The finds preserved in these rooms give us back the details of the everyday life of our ancestors. We discover, for example, the type of glasses they preferred, the plates and the crockery used in the pantry or in the kitchen. Not only that: from these objects we understand what the skills and the work carried out in the community were thanks to the quantity of hooks, spindles and loom weights on display. From the remains of complex structures, such as the hypocaust found in the excavation of Via Roma, we learn instead how a wealthy family of the time spent their free time.

Room 10 in which there is a tomb

Once again, we didn't miss an opportunity to learn something about our territory. The visit to the Civic Museum of Diano Marina was invaluable in this sense: it allowed us to take a trip back in time, to discover our roots and our identity. To be repeated as soon as possible!

Notes: The use of the images relating to the material present at the Lucus Bormani Civic Museum in Diano Marina and inserted within this content has been authorised.


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