Viterbo. "Luigi Rossi Dainelli" Civic Museum

The "Luigi Rossi Dainelli" Civic Museum of Viterbo is a collection of finds that traces some moments in the history of the city from the Roman Etruscan period and a Pinacoteca, collection of paintings from the Middle Ages to the modern era.

Most of the exhibited material comes from the Collection that Luigi Rossi Dainelli donated to the municipality and a collection begun in 1400 by Friar Annio from Viterbo. Friar Annio is famous for having also been one of the first forgers: it was his custom to create artifacts and to place them in order to find them in the hands of illustrious characters such as Pope Borgia, or his collection "Antiquitatum variarum" of 17 volumes in which he recounted an original version of the history of the world in which the Etruscans were made to descend directly from Noah who must have stopped in Tuscia after the Flood".

Another rare piece that comes from Friar Annio is the Osirian marble, a slab created by the  union of two medieval pieces which, according to the friar, was actually the fragment of a triumphal column that Osiris had given to Viterbo during his passage through these territories.

The Roman finds come from Ferento, an ancient Roman city 6 km from Viterbo abandoned with the fall of the empire and the arrival of waves of barbarians when the population preferred to take refuge on fortified hills.

In the Pinacoteca there are two wonderful paintings by Sebastiano del Piombo, a Deposition in 1515, on the back of which is a charcoal attributed to Michelangelo, and a Flagellation of 1517. Also noteworthy is a polychrome ceramic by Andrea della Robbia, nephew of the famous Luca della Robbia.

Another special section comprises 56 sketches of the Carriage of Santa Rosa dating back to the eighteenth century and copies of the frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli that once adorned the church of Santa Rosa. The ceremony and the Festival of Santa Rosa in Viterbo is part of the Intangible UNESCO World Heritage. 

The museum is located in the former 14th century monastery of the church of Santa Maria della Verità, just outside the walls of Viterbo

Written by:
Benedicta Lee

Born in Rome from an Italian mother and American father, she works as a freelance communications manager and designer in the tourism sector, a career and interest which she is pursuing with a...

Subscribe to Newsletter

Discover a territory through the emotions of the people that have lived it.