STAS – Museo della ceramica d’uso a Corneto – Museum of ceramics in Corneto

Old Town

STAS – Museo della ceramica d’uso a Corneto – Museum of ceramics in Corneto

Palazzo dei Priori

The Ceramics Museum is housed in the 13th-century Palazzo dei Priori, home to the Società Tarquiniense d’Arte e Storia (STAS) – a cultural association promoting Tarquinia’s art and history. The Museum displays, explaining their purpose, the materials uncovered in the ‘butti’ (underground storage spaces used to preserve food and wine in ancient times) of the Palace (one situated in front of the Museum entrance and still visible) and the artefacts from the Collezione Cultrera (founded by the archaeologist and first president of STAS), discovered during uncontrolled excavations in oldtown of Tarquinia between 1993 and 1995.
The Museum’s first exhibition dates back to 1993, but in 2011 it was completely revamped and enriched with new artefacts, taking the title ‘Reperti dei butti di Palazzo dei Priori: dal restauro all’esposizione’ (Artefacts from the butti of Palazzo dei Priori: from restoration to exhibition). Over 300 artefacts, including ceramics, coins, glassware, jewellery, objects made of bronze and bone, iron tools, everyday items and decorative objects, are on permanent display in two rooms. These items provide evidence of the lifestyle and daily life of the people who lived in the Palace during the Middle Ages, reflecting the history of Corneto between the 13th and 18th centuries.
The Museum also showcases a reconstruction of a kitchen found during excavations in Piazza del Duomo in 2005, which belonged to the front of the Roman Savelli family’s palace. The kitchen was located in some rooms annexed to the massive base of a tower and included a semi-basement cooking area with a wood storage space underneath, beneath which was a well full of various artefacts.
The construction of the palace was identified to have occurred in two phases prior to its destruction at the end of the 17th century. The first phase dates back to the 12th-14th century, during the family’s peak of influence resulting from its ties with the papacy. The second phase, between the 15th and 17th centuries, involved a renovation of the complex.
The reconstructed kitchen aims to suggest to the visitors the original appearance of the space, while simulating the atmosphere of a daily living environment and recalling aspects of Corneto’s history and culture during the Renaissance.
Also worth noting are two tiny pieces of clear veil studded with tiny bright gold pins, shaped like a three-knot bow, which belonged in life and death to Napoleon Bonaparte’s mother, Maria Letizia Ramolino. She was buried in Corneto’s church of the Passionist nuns, where she remained until 1851 when, at the request of her imperial grandson Napoleon III, she and her cardinal brother Flesch were transferred to the imperial chapel in Ajaccio.

The archive houses the correspondence and documents belonging to Cardarelli, collected in the ‘Cardarelli Study Centre, private documentation related to the 14th and 20th centuries of families from Corneto such as Falzacappa, Guaglia, Bruschi, and Falgari, notary Tommaso di Leonardo’s protocols from the 16th century, parish registers from the 17th century, chronicles, including those of Muzio Polidori, and memories of the trials for the revolts which occurred in Corneto in 1848-49.

For more information, you can visit the Museum’s website:

Museum opening hours
Monday – Wednesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

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Photography by: César Vásquez Altamirano, Tiziano Crescia, Roberto Romano, Sailko Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, Paolo Monti

Translations by Ylenia Marcucci e Alessandro Rotatori