Museo Retico | Sanzeno

via Nazionale, 50, Sanzeno
Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
closed on: open Saturday and Sunday afternoon from March through October
Museum Type: Archaeology
museo retico 01

The Museo Retico in Sanzeno, northern Italy, is a small archaeological museum focused on the history of Val di Non valley and of the Rhaeti tribes once inhabiting it.

The museum is located in the Val di Non, a beautiful valley in the Italian Alps, in the village of Sanzeno, about 45 km / 18 miles from the cities of Trento, and Bolzano, from which it can be easily reached in about an hour by car.
Right in front of the museum, visitors could also take a 1.5-mile-long panoramic trail, cut in a fir tree forest and flanking a canyon, which leads to the famous medieval sanctuary of San Romedio dating back to the 12th century.

The Museo Retico presents the history of the Val di Non from Prehistory to the Middle Ages. In ancient times, before being submitted to Rome by emperor Augustus in the 1st century A.D. (decades after the Roman conquest of southern Britain!), the valley was dominated by the Raethian people from which the museum takes its name. The Deconstructivist style building of the museum, designed by architect Sergio Giovanazzi, is characterized by angular shapes and large bare-concrete surfaces.

The museum’s permanent exhibition, organized thematically, features archaeological artifacts, videos, scale models, and graphics in an aesthetically pleasing combination. Though interesting, the collection of the Museo Retico – mainly composed of Pre-Roman and Roman pieces including statues, coins, and pottery dating from the 3,000 B.C. to the Imperial period – cannot compete with those of major archaeological museums; therefore, curators and architect created a “dialogue” between exhibits and architecture.
The exhibition is divided into thematic sections, arranged along a spiral path which, starting from the basement level which presents the valley in Prehistory, progressively rises up to the ground floor following a chronological sequence. The exhibition spaces located on the lower level are more intimate, narrow and dark and contains mostly models and videos; by proceeding forward, rooms become progressively broader and brighter.
The exhibition fit-out is made of wood, glass, and patina Cor-ten steel. An important architectural feature of the museum, the bare concrete walls are also used as a support which graphics is directly applied on. A small issue is that description texts are in Italian only.

To enhance the visitors’ experience, the curators introduced some “theatrical” inventions, such as a narrow vertical staircase space entitled “Well of Time” located at the beginning of the exhibition, and a large thatched-hut-like room which accommodates the section dedicated to Rhaetian people; for the same reason, the curators made a large, though never excessive, use of multimedia installations. The artificial lighting system of the galleries is mostly made of directional spotlights equipped with halogen lamps. The long linear showcases that contain most of the archaeological pieces on view are light-boxes equipped with a diffuse light illumination system, instead.
The Rhaeti museum of Sanzeno also contains a small library, educational spaces, and a special exhibition room.


Museo Retico 03

A video installation depicting the Glacial Age in The Val di Non; photo © Inexhibit

Museo retico 07

The Raeti section, a thatched-roof space inspired by the architecture of an ancient Rhaetian hut


The Stele of Revò, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC and found in a village located about 6 kilometers / 4 miles from the museum


Long strip-shaped showcases contain most of the smaller archaeological pieces on view


 The gallery of ancient Roman sculptures and artifacts


“Archaeology is the search for fact… not truth. If it’s truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall”, as Indiana Jones / Harrison Ford says

Museo retico 13

The final part of the permanent exhibition

Cover image, the Museo Retico archaeological museum in Sanzeno, Trento
All photographs © Inexhibit

How our readers rate this museum (you can vote)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)

sponsored links

Museums of Archaeology and Archaeological Sites around the World

Museums of Archaeology and Archaeological Sites around the World

Museums of Archaeology and Archaeological Sites around the World

More in Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol

Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol

Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol

copyright Inexhibit 2024 - ISSN: 2283-5474