The National Archaeological Museum preserves some magnificent finds testifying the ancient splendour of the port of Adria.
The building, designed by the famous architect G.B. Scarpari from Adria, was inaugurated in September 1961 in order to display the remarkable finds collected since 1770 by the Bocchi family and coming from other private collections. The museum exhibition is also the result of the finds unearthed during several archaeological excavations.
The prehistoric period is poorly documented, while the exhibition is rich in remains concerning the ancient settlement, situated in the south part of the town, dating back to the VI th century B.C. when Adria was a flourishing port frequented by various civilizations (namely the Paleo–Venetians, the Greeks and the Etruscans).
The Attic vases with black and red figurines painted by famous painters are strikingly beautiful. The Greeks exchanged these vases in the port for metals, wheat and the highly soughtafter local horse breeds. In addition to the rich variety of Greek ceramics, the museum exhibition also includes some valuable Etruscan remains. Having arrived in the territory by the half of the VIth century B.C., their presence is revealed by some inscriptions engraved on vases, the so–called bucchero, and by a great number of bronze objects. However, it is the collection of gold jewels which represents the most prominent element of the Etruscan section with its precious range of drop pendants, disk–shaped bullae, necklace beads and ear-rings.
In the II nd century B.C. the Romans settled in the territory. Their presence is testified by elegant multi-colored glass vases which are perfectly preserved: glasses, beakers, cups, unguent pots, cinerary urns. Further evidence of the Romans’ presence is the milestone of Popillius, probably dating back to 132 B.C., when Publius Popillius Laenas, the son of Caio, was consul.
Worth mentioning is also the so–called Tomba della Biga discovered during the excavation of the Canalbianco necropolis in 1938. The tomb contains the skeletons of two young Venetian-breed horses paired and yoked to a cart. The discovery of a weapon suggests that it was a currus, the war chariot of a young warrior belonging to an aristocratic family, perhaps of Celtic origin.