therme museum

Aquae Patavinae: museum of ancient thermal waters and the local territory opens in Montegrotto


Montegrotto Terme is a commune in the Province of Padua and the heart of the largest thermal centre in Europe.  While knowledge of the thermal waters are documented for before the arrival of the Romans, the new museum is dedicated to sharing the history of ‘thermalism’. It is also the first museum in the world entirely dedicated to understanding thermal resources and their many facets, including geology, medicine, archaeology, and history.

The Romans called them "Aquae Patavinae," as people from all walks of life undertook travels or pilgrimages just to immerse themselves in the waters of the Euganean Hills. Known to resolve pathologies and ailments, those who came donated precious objects, containers, as well as anatomical reproductions of the healed body parts to the deities who patronized the thermal waters.

"Aquae Patavinae" is also the name of the research project that included the excavation, conservation, restoration and enhancement of the main archaeological sites in the Montegrotto Terme area. The museum has come to fruition after more than twenty years of interdisciplinary scientific research between the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Padua, the Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape, the CNR, as well as special support by the ALES association that serves in the protection of Italian Cultural Heritage. The museum is located at the Rustico di Villa Draghi on the slopes of a public park and managed by the Municipality of Montegrotto Terme through the Lapis association.

The museum exhibits unique pieces and reproductions thanks to elaborate virtual reconstructions and 3D modulations to help visitors understand different characteristics of thermalism. Offering interactive games for children of all ages including a touch version of the mythological Oracle Geryon, a monstrous creature with three heads, six arms and six legs.

The museum includes three thematic areas: thermalism as a natural phenomenon, thermalism as a divine gift with extraordinary therapeutic potential, and thermalism as an economic resource exploited for the care and well-being of the body. As the largest and richest part that naturally encompasses the Euganean Hills, the area transformed over time, starting from antiquity to the modern and contemporary age.

The Museo del Termalismo is a fundamental component of the emerging Terme Euganee Archaeological Park. It offers a rich cultural path aimed at highlighting how the exploitation of one of the most important natural resources, water, was used for therapeutic purposes, especially in Roman times, but also for the physical and well-being of today’s society.

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