National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto - National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto
The museum is located within the Fortress, in the upper part of Spoleto’s historical centre.
The museum was founded to document the history of the Duchy, established thanks to he Lombards, a Germanic population which broke the political unity of the Italian peninsula in the 6th century AD.
The Fortress was built by order of the Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz starting in 1360. It was home to papal legates and to Popes.
Today, with the gradual restoration of its spaces and mural paintings that still decorate its walls, the complex has finally regained its old primitive charm after having been used for a long time as prison.
The museum offers an interesting document of knowledge of the Spoleto territory from the 4th to the 15th century and at the same time illustrates, through panels, the beauty of the frescoed rooms displaying the artworks.
Opened in 2007, the museum was created thanks to a project collecting artworks and materials already partially housed in the premises of the Civic Museum and of the Art Gallery, useful to document the origin, development and the several historical as well as cultural effects of the Lombard Duchy of Spoleto.
The Museum has 15 halls on two floors around the courtyard of honour.
The artwork collection covers a period from the 4th century AD, with pieces from the first Christian communities, to the 15th century.
Conceived as an appropriate tool to conserve and present the knowledge of the city and the territory, the museum aims to help visitors understand the complexity of historical events and at the same time its cultural vitality even after the fall of the Duchy.
The itinerary begins with the fourth century, illustrating the first Christian communities with materials from the funerary areas and the nearby buildings of worship, with an emphasis on the phenomenon of monasticism. It continues with works ranging from the sixth to the ninth centuries, showing the artistic evolution of the territory, and ends with sculptures and paintings from the twelfth to the fifteenth century that well document the extraordinary artistic flourishing of the city and territory as the Triptych of Santa Maria delle Grazie by Niccolò di Liberatore.The itinerary is completed by illustrative panels that give an account of the historical function of each environment crossed.
The Albornoz Fortress is located in the highest point of the city, on top of St. Elia hill, and is not served by public transport. For those interested to visit the beautiful town, there are three practical mechanized itineraries connecting the newest and lowest part of the city to the highest and most ancient one. One itinerary leaves from the Ponzianina car park and through escalators reaches the Cathedral. Another one leaves from the Posterna car park and brings visitors to Piazza Campello through travelators and elevators, through an underground itinerary with exits located at the New Theatre, Piazza Pianciani and Piazza del Mercato. A third itinerary connects, through underground travelators, the SpoletoSfera car park to Piazza della Libertà.
From here, walking through Corso Mazzini until the end you can reach Piazza Pianciani, where it’s possible to resume the above-mentioned itinerary.
In order to reach the Fortress,the Posterna itinerary is the most direct one and it is all indoors until the Fortress exit.
Therefore, once arrived at the terminal of Piazza Campello, you can go up through one of the two available lifts, provided with an external and internal Braille as well as a raised button panel, and with light and vocal signals of floors.
From there you exit on the pedestrian asphalt road of the “Fortress Tour” that is a looping path around the fortress; if you go right, you will find the opening hallway to the lifts going up to the Fortress in Largo Luigi Antonini, always equipped with an external and internal Braille as well as a raised button panel, and with light and vocal signals of floors.
For those willing to reach the Fortress with their own transport, you must bear in mind that the facility is located within the ZTL (LIMITED TRAFFIC ZONE), therefore it’s necessary to send by fax to the number 0743-218074 the two-sided copy of the disabled coupon, by also mentioning the plate of the car and the transit day. All must be done in advance or within 72 hours of the transit. Alternatively, you can also go personally to the Municipal Police command centre, located in Piazza Garibaldi 42, in the lower part of the city, under the two entrance arches.
After having parked in the Piazza Campello area, you can take the pedestrian walkway that turns around the Fortress. You can pass by the entrance to the lifts leading to the underground itinerary of the treadmills and go on for about 150 metres, until reaching the lifts going up to the Fortress, as already described above.
For disabled people it’s possible to reach the Fortress by car, in proximity of the Museum’s entrance and park there for the duration of the visit. It’s necessary to call the number 0743-224952 (Ticket Office) or the number 0743- 223055 (guardians) to notify them of the arrival and get directions.
The museum can be visited by people with motor difficulties and who need aids such as the wheelchair. Guide dogs are allowed. You can receive information about a possible personalized visit by calling the “System Museum” cooperative at the number 0743- 46434 or directly the ticket office at the number 0743-224952.
Audio guides are not available in the facility.