The exhibition The Gods Return. The bronzes of San Casciano at the Quirinale Palace presents to the public for the first time the extraordinary discoveries made in 2022 in the Etruscan and Roman thermal sanctuary of the Bagno Grande of San Casciano dei Bagni: this is the discovery of the largest deposit of bronze statues from the Etruscan and Roman ages never discovered in ancient Italy, as well as one of the most significant in the whole Mediterranean.
The preparation of the exhibition, curated by the general director of museums Massimo Osanna and the professor of the University for Foreigners of Siena Jacopo Tabolli, develops like a process through the centuries within the landscape of the thermal waters of the territory of the ancient Etruscan city-state of Chiusi (which in the Etruscan language was called Clevsin or Camars).
It consists of over twenty statues and anatomical ex-voto, which depict the divinities venerated in the sacred place together with the ancient dedicates. The exceptional state of conservation within the thermal water of the spring also made it possible to preserve the Etruscan and Latin inscriptions engraved on the statues before their construction. Most of these masterpieces can be dated between the 2nd and 1st century BC, a historical period of great transformations in Etruria, in the transition between the Etruscans and Romans. In this era of great conflicts between Rome and the Etruscan cities, but also of internal struggles in Rome, noble Etruscan and Roman families dedicated the statues together in the sanctuary: a multicultural and multilingual context of peace, therefore, surrounded by political instability and war.
The statues were placed on the outer edge of the large sacred basin and anchored to the travertine blocks. On several occasions – certainly during the first century AD. – the statues were detached from the edge of the basin and deposited on the bottom; it is therefore a question of a ritual deposition, mediated with the divinity. The votive acts then continued until the 4th century AD. with the deposition of almost six thousand coins (in silver, bronze and gold). Only at the beginning of the 5th century AD. the sanctuary was dismantled and closed. The great sacred treasure in the basin was covered with large tiles and the columns of the portico were lowered above it to seal the definitive closure of the place of worship.
All these precious finds tell a story of devotion, of cults and rites hosted in sacred places where the thermal water was also and above all used for therapeutic purposes.
Photo credits: courtesy of the Quirinale Palace
From 23 June to 25 July 2023 and from 2 September to 22 December 2023
Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Visit duration: 1 hour
Visitors are due to come 15 minutes before the visit, with a valid identification document.
If the personal data of the names, indicated at the time of booking, do not coincide with the data resulting from the documents, access will not be allowed.