The Railing of Umbria
Bettona belongs to the Club
I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia
Being the only Etruscan settlement on the left bank of Tiber river, Bettona rises 365 meters above the sea level, on a hill that outlines the extreme propagation of a hilly system detached from the Martani Mountains. Railing of Umbria, it dominates the flat valley below, and it opens up to the surrounding towns and the Apennine, which, far away, rise above.
Its ancient Umbrian-Etruscan origins, numerous archaeological finds and well preserved walls, make Bettona a place rich in historical-artistic testimonies, a widespread museum that extends throughout the territory. Its palaces, once splendid residences, its breathtaking views, its finely adorned churches and oratories, and its municipal museum, are an compulsory stop for tourists, scholars and enthusiasts.
Placed in Piazza Cavour, the Museum of the City of Bettona is set on the contingency of Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo Biancalana. The first was built in 1371 as part of the city reconstruction ordered by the cardinal and papal legate Egidio Albornoz; the second was built in neoclassical style on owner Francesco Biancalana’s project after the second half of the Nineteenth Century.
The collection, deeply rooted in local history, includes two distinct sections, both of great value: an archaeological and a pictorial one.
The archaeological section of the Museum makes the exhibition start, testifying the territory’s origins. It includes Etruscan artifacts, a large number of architectural crockery, funeral and border caskets, ceramics, sculptural works of the late Hellenistic period and Roman marbles.
Among the most remarkable pieces of the collection there is a magnificent marble head of Aphrodite dating back to the middle of the Imperial Age, discovered in 1884 in the agricultural land owned by the Bianconi family; stolen in 1987, it was found then in New York in 2001.
Jewels and other finds found in the tomb of the Colle, the burial chamber discovered in 1913, are instead exposed to the National Archaeological Museum of Umbria in Perugia.
The renovation work of the pavement of Piazza Cavour has shown an ancient monumental well dating back to the end of the Fifteenth Century; it is a circular plant made by squared stone rocks. Interesting
are also the remains of an underground masonry and a Roman road.
The Picture Gallery
The Town Picture Gallery occupies, on the other hand, the Fourteenth Century Palazzo del Podestà and some rooms of Biancalana family’s residence.
The collection, which dates back to 1904, includes different kind of pieces, all close to local history. The Picture Gallery houses about sixty works, mostly pictorial, such as: the Saint Anthony of Padua and the Madonna della Misericordia with the saints Stefano, Girolamo and clients by Pietro Vannucci called “Il Perugino“, two precious fourteenth-century miniature chorales, St. Michael the Archangel of Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, a polychrome wood crucifix attributed to Agostino di Duccio, the monumental altarpiece with the Madonna in glory and Saints by Jacopo Siculo, a tabernacle with Christ and Evangelists attributed to Domínikos Theotokópoulos better known as “El Greco“, Saints Peter and Paul by Giuseppe Ribera known as “Lo Spagnoletto“, an in the round glazed earthenware depicting St. Anthony of Padua, inspired by the eDella Robbia, and a wonderful table with the Adoration of the Shepherds of the artist Dono Doni from Assisi, fast restored after the earthquake of October 2016. The intervention, funded by the Uffizi Gallery, was lead intra moenia through the creation of a restoration laboratory visible to everyone.
Inside the Museum, there are also active educational services with a quality teaching offer that combines the artistic rigor of collections with a creative atmosphere. Art, play and creativity used to communicate to the new generations the importance that art has in the social and anthropological development of each one of us.