Museo Nazionale “Giuseppe Andreassi” e Parco Archeologico di Egnazia
The Museum, named in honour of Giuseppe Andreassi, museum director, supervisor of the archaeological site from 1976 to 1985 and Chief Apulian Archaeologist from 1990 to 2009, stands outside the town walls of ancient Gnathia (present-day Egnazia), in the area of the Messapian necropolis.
The exhibition encompasses thirty centuries of history of the important settlement, from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages.
The city, mentioned by classic authors for its privileged geographic location, was a strategic commercial port connecting East and West.
The first settlement dates back to the 16th century BC and survived until the Iron Age, when the entire region of Apulia was inhabited by the Iapygians. Around the end of the 6th century BC, Egnazia was a Messapian settlement, corresponding to the present-day provinces of Brindisi and Lecce. Starting from the 3rd century BC, with the Roman presence in the region, the city underwent a transformation and in the 1st century BC it acquired municipal status, growing in importance thanks to its port and the Via Traiana (Trajan Way). From the 6th century AD, the lower settlement became increasingly abandoned, as its inhabitants moved to the Acropolis until the 13th century.
The massive defence walls of Egnazia and nearby necropolises–containing cist graves, semi-chamber and monumental chamber tombs–are all vestiges of the Messapian age
The remains of the Roman city include parts of the Via Traiana, Basilica Civile (Civic Basilica) with the hall of the Three Graces, the sacellum of Eastern deities, the square with porticoes, the cryptoportico and the thermal baths.
Among the Christian buildings, erected between the 4th and the 6th centuries, the Basilica Episcopale (Bishops’ Basilica) with the baptistry and the Basilica Meridionale (Southern Basilica), which originally featured mosaic floors.
Built in 1975 outside the city walls of ancient Gnathia, on the edge of the western necropolis, since 1981 the Museum has welcomed a series of temporary exhibitions, whilst also housing the permanent exhibition ‘Egnazia, la storia e i monumenti’ (“Egnazia, its history and monuments”).
The current set-up, placed on a raised floor which also accommodates the institution’s administrative offices, was inaugurated in July 2013.
The basement of the museum contains a 4th century BC Messapian tomb, the so-called Tomba delle Melagrane.
The exhibition, divided into seven sections, tells the events that marked archaeological research in Egnazia and the historic development of the site from the 16th century BC to the 13th century AD, when the area was abandoned.
Artefacts and visuals illustrate the characteristics of the first hut settlement in the Bronze Age, the influence of the Iapygian and Messapian cultures, the Roman era and the Early Christian period, when the city became a bishopric. The last section comprises evidence of Longobard presence and the last traces of human activity in the area. The relics were found during excavations in the settlement and in the burial sites of Egnazia and the surrounding area.
Grave goods including imported Mycenaean pottery from a mound grave found in the Torre Santa Sabina area in the municipality of Carovigno (Brindisi province) (14th century BC)
Terracotta banquet scene representing rites held during a burial ceremony (4th-2nd century BC).
Statue of Demetra
White marble, found in a domus of the residential district near the Forum. The goddess, dressed in a chiton and an ample cloak (himation), is portrayed with the typical ceremonial torch carried in honour of Demetra (first imperial age).
Head of Attis
White marble, with the characteristic Phrygian cap. Found in the sacellum of Eastern deities (2nd century AD).
Mosaic of the Three Graces
Part of the mosaic floor decorating an area connected to the Basilica Civile (4th century AD).
Filigree and granulation. Small temple shaped gemstone recalling the edicule of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (end of 6th-early 7th century AD).
Via delle Carceri, 87
Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
No profit/donation museum, gallery