In this room you can see the heraldry section of the museum, including exhibits of historical and artistic interest, such as the monumental coat of arms of Gregory XIII. The artifact made of travertine, bears the coat of arms of Pope Boncompagni (1572-1585), a rampant dragon. It was once placed on the west side of the Gregorian Bridge of Acquapendente. In 1578 the rampant dragon was restored by the architect Giovanni Fontana. On the east side of the bridge you can admire a similar coat of arms.
Alongside the coat of arms there is a monumental inscription in marble of Pope Pio VII (Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti), previously placed in the rooms overlooking the archive of the first floor of the Bishop’s Palace, remember the pope stayed three times in Acquapendente, a guest of bishop Florido Pierleoni, fleeing French troops occupiers.
The marble coat of arms depicts the arms of the second bishop aquesiano Nicola Leti Spoleto (1655-1674), who established the Monte di pietà of Acquapendente on April 21 1658 to benefit the city and the needs of poor, subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the bishop.
The City Museum has three exihibition sites set along the road which corresponds to the Via Francigena, this still remains as the backbone of the town centre. In ancient times the palace belonged to Oliva. Today the Bishop’s Palace is the location of the City Museum of Acquapendente which has educational and experimental purpose and adds value to the identity of the territory. Inside there are both civic and diocesan collections. In the vast rooms of the Museum, you can admire the works of particular prestiges such as the heraldic coat of arms of Pope Gregorio XIII (1572 – 1585), made in travertine, the bust of Pope Innocenzo X Pamphilij by Alessandro Algardi (1598 – 1654) and the painting on a wooden panel made by Girolamo di Benvenuto (1470- 1524).
On the second floor you can see the exhibition room, dedicated to the Via Francigena, which linked Cantembury to Rome, with specific consideration to the historical tradiction of the territory of the city such as the centre of “Cultural Frontier”
I. ANTEROOM OF THE HEARING ROOM
The Bishop’s Palace was built during the institution of the new Diocese of Acquapendente in 1649 by Pope Innocent X Pamphilj with the bull In Supremo Militantis Ecclesiae , after the destruction of the Diocese of Castro.
Particularly after the institution of the new diocese and after the Baslic of Holy Sepulchre became the Cathedral, the brotherhoods bought the renaissance palace, owned by Oliva family while they were waiting for the bishop named Pompeo Mignucci.
II. THE HEARING ROOM
The Hearing Room displays paintings of bishops, prelates and popes sorrounding in a sort of an ideal assembly, the marble bust of Innocent X Pamphilj. The collections of the paintings exhibited in this room are partly from the Santo sepolcro Cathedral and partly from the Bishop’s Palace, it also includes the portraits of Cardinal Corsini, Cardinal Campanella and Pope Pio VII and all of the works of the painter Vincenzo Milione (1735 – 1805). On the wall you can admire a fresco painted by Alfredo Consoli in 1934 with the coat of arms of Bishop from the diocese of Acquapendente. In the shrine you can see a rich liturgical collection.
III. THE SECOND ROOM
The second room was used to be in ancient times the bedroom of the Bishop and then the living room from the twenty century. Today this room hosts the largest collection of vestments and liturgical monstrances which belonged to Bishops. In the showcase on the left, the Clasuble with the Bishop Nicola Leti’s family crest (1655 – 1674) and the White silk tunic (XVII), . In the central part of the wall you can admire the Pluvial with the Bishop Giovan Battista Febei’s family crest (1683 – 1689). On the right side you can see the Chausuble in laminated black silk (XIX), a rare example of black vestment for the celebration of the funeral rites and the commemoration of the dead. Finally, you can see the Chausuble with Pope Benedict XIV’ family crest (1740 – 1758) and the Chausable with the Bishop Gisleno Veneri’s family crest.
IV. THE THIRD ROOM
In the XIX century the third room was the library which contained a prominent quantity of books written over the centuries. In this room you can find many ceramic objects which were found during excavations found in what is today Tranquillo Guarnieri Square, which was facing the museum building between 1988 and 1991. These pottery findings enabled to observe a ceramic fornace of ‘butti’ (waste deposits) , some contained waste largely derived from the manufacturing processes carried out in the factory.
V. BISHOP CHAPEL
Originally this room was wider and it was the Bishop’s bedroom. Today it is completely dedicated to a big painting on a wooden panel made by Girolamo di Benvenuto (1505), a lunette with the Piety where the image of Christ stands at the centre, in frontal position, help up by two angels. The piece which came from the local church of Saint Agostine, along with the panel of the Madonna with child among the Saints Nicola da Tolentino, Monica, agostino, Giovanni The Evangelist, was the altar piece of the Convent’s Church of the Augustinians. You can see 0the original placement of the altar piece in the plastic painting of the church of Saint Agostino exhibited on the basement on the left of the piece. On the wall , you can admire multiple works by artists from Lazio and Tuscany from the XV – XVI century.
VI. THE FIFTH ROOM
Until the end of the XVIII century the room belonged to the Bargello (an officer of laws and order)who lived in the room above the prisons. Since the second half of the XIX century the room has been a bedroom. In this room the finds coming from the excavations carried out in 1996 near Morelli Palace, the present Cinema Olympia, are exhibited. Besides the works bearing the Morelli’s family crest, the finds returned several plates in ‘compendiary’ style, bowls in painted slipped ceramics dating to the XVII century, jugs and plates decorated with woman faces as well as a set of plates from the Regio Parco di Torino, caracterized by a coat of arms with eagle with spread wings.
VII. CORRIDOR TO THE PRISONS
In the last decades of the XVIII century the hall was the connecting point between the rooms of the Bargello and the bishop’s prison. Today, this hall shows the theme of the chronological history of ceramics in Acquapendente.
The oldest pieces (archiac majolica) date back to the XV and XVII century, followed by the graphyte majolica (XV – XVI centuries). Between the end of the XV century and the XVII the use of ‘lustre’ is documented. Lustre as a decoration technique gives chromatic iridescent effects in golden yellow, silver and ruby red colors. During the latter half of the XVI century, you can admire the iconography of the ‘belles’ (beautiful women).
In the early production we can find compendiary style and the production of Regio Parco di Torino (half of the XVII century. The XX century is well documented by the works of the Fuschini – Rosa donation, whose activity ceased in 1971.
VIII. CORRIDOR TO THE GARDEN
In the glass case is what can be imagined as a typical daily life. It shows the scenes inside one of the inns and taverns which were very popolar in Acquapendente between the XVI and the XVII centuries. You can admire the objects discovered by the excavations near Porta della Ripa, in the south of Acquapendente. The excavations brought back objects which were for daily use such as jugs, bowls, plates, basins and beakers. These are used in houses and taverns. They also found objects from abroad as the type of manufacture and the decorative motifs tell.
As everybody knows, such handworks were carried by the passerby in the trousseau during the travel and in case the trousseau accidentally broke, they were thrown in the domestic butti(waste deposits). The glass cases on the side of the entrance in the Chapel was for the finds from the excavations carried out in Via Cesare Battisti, Vicolo Viola and Via Rugarella.
IX. BISHOP’S CHAPEL
Before, the private chapel of the Bishop was in Oliva’s Palace, which is in the central area. The actual appearance is mainly the result of reconstructions from the damage caused by grenades from the Second World War. The decoration on the walls of the fresco dates back to 1944 and was done by a painter of Acquapendente Alfredo Consoli, commissioned by Bishop Giuseppe Pronti from Assisi (1938-1951). The cosy interior of the Chapel is the natural environment for the Antepedium withcrest of Bishop Alessandro Fedeli (1960 – 1969).
The red velvet Antepedium presents a rich embossed embroidery in thread and silver leaf. In front of this you can admire the Pluvial with the crest of Bishop Florido Pierleoni(1802-1829), with a crowed rampant lion holding a cornucopia. To the sides of the altar two reliquaries are placed.
From the second half of the nineteenth century, this room has hosted the bedroom of the Bishop. The finds exhibited here come from the excavations in via Cantorrivo (XIV and XV centuries). In the first showcase, on the left, there are ceramic pieces meant to be used on a dinner table (flat – bottomed bowls and the so-called panata, a small jug used to soak bry bread. In the rest of the showcase along the left wall , you can admire the fragmentary jugs and bowls of different sizes with the crest of Roman Colonna family.
The reputation of the ceramic art from Acquapendente led Pietro paolo Biondi to write that local pottery skill was like in the Roman ecclesiastical circles. In the showcase close to the exit door sides it is possible admire the graffiti decoration which represents the figure of a winged dragon of the XV century.
XI. THE SEVENTH ROOM STUDY OF THE BISHOP
This room exhibits the finds from the excavation site closest to the central museum’s seat: the facing Tranquillo Guarnieri Square, which today is a public garden. The area has returned a feractory basement, probably the plane off a kiln for firing ceramics, along with the remains of a shop. You can admire a plate dated back to about the half of the XVI century . This plate is decorated with landscape patterns and shows the architectonic typologies which identify precise historical building categories: a farm with tower.
Noteworthy are the works depicting women, exhibited in the showcase on the left wall and dated back between the XVI and the XVII century. This room also is for the finds in archaic majolica discovered in the same excavation site.
XII. THE LIVING-ROOM
This room was a private living room of the Bishop apartment. The hall has walls painted in trompe-l’oeil which open on different natural landscapes framed by balanced breakdown of a mock classical architecture. The imaginative tuscan order columns support an entablature above which opens the blue of a sky which hovers an eagle holding tight in its claws a fluttering ribbon with the inscription M. Pronti A. D. 1944 dedicated to Bishop Giuseppe Pronti, who commissioned the restoration of paintings, executed by Alfredo Consoli following damage during the Second World War. The last restoration dates back to 2005 and is the work by Mariano Marziali. At the center of the room, painted wood finished with fireplace panel with the coat of arms of Bishop Luigi Boccadoro.
A section of the building, known as “demo ethno-anthropological” located on the second floor, is dedicated to the “Via Francigena”: a large model which runs down the hall, shows the main stages of the entire route, which starts in Canterbury and ends in Rome (accompanied by educational and informational panels and LED screens). A video projection and a large model which illustrates the old town centre of Acquapendente, which highlights the various urban transformation which continued throughout the centuries (from the foundation to the present day). The panels accompanying the small hall are reminiscent of the most emblematic chronicles of travelers who have passed through the Francigena. Other panels are reserved for insights of the most important ceramics of the territory.