I am telling you, there is old stuff everywhere in Italy. Stuff just lying around all over the place. It boggles my mind.
You go to Rome, and you have to step over chunks of columns that have been lying on their side for a couple thousand years because there are just too many of them to house in museums.
You go to Sardinia, and you see the monolithic stones of the fascinating nuraghe being reused by shepherds as fences because there’s just not enough financing to maintain them all.
Then you go for a walk along the banks of the Enza River, and you stumble across a golden cup that’s 3800 years old!
Well… ok, maybe not YOU, but someone did!
In March of 2012, a member of the “Gruppo Archeologico Val d’Enza” (Enza Valley Archeological Society) was going for a walk in an area that is well known amongst local archeology buffs, and was shocked to stumble across this:
I’ve heard the story now a couple of times now from a member of my marito‘s famiglia who is quite involved with the group, but never it never gets less amazing. These guys (and gals) from this local archeology interest group go for walks in historical hotbeds, looking to stumble across something interesting. They explore with the hopes, but not the actual expectation, of finding something as amazing as this. Why is this cup so amazing?
Well, aside from the fact that it’s THREE-THOUSAND EIGHT-HUNDRED years old… apparently its similarities with two other golden cups (one in the UK, one in Germany) suggest a connection never previously established between these geographic places in this era. I’ll put some reference links at the bottom of the post for those who are interested.
To do all the proper investigating, they scooted the specimen off to “the big city” (well, bigger than Montecchio) to run some tests. Locally, there seems to be some concern over whether the cup will ultimately end up in Parma or Reggio Emilia. You see, Montecchio is located between these two cities, with the River Enza forming the boundary between the provinces. The residents of Montecchio identify themselves proudly as Reggiani, NOT Parmense.
This may seem like a trivial concern to you non-Emilians, but anyone here can tell you the tensions run high between these two neighboring provinces!
The Gazetta di Parma claimed last year that it would most likely end up in the National Archeology Museum in Parma. However, I was under the impression that locals would prefer it to remain in the province of Reggio Emilia. I believe there is some concern over the costs of properly maintaining a piece like this. (If any philanthropic archeology buffs out there would like me to find out information about how to donate to the care of the Golden Cup of Montecchio, please let me know!)
While the resting place remains to be determined (as far as I know), the most important fact is that the cup returneth!
Yes, the cup will be on display in the beautiful setting of the Castle of Montecchio starting next week. The big opening day is the 28th, with events throughout the day. The inaugurazione is at 9:30am, and at 10am a conference titled “La Tazza d’Oro e il suo Tempo” (The Golden Cup and its Era) will start. The following experts will speak about their findings and the implications:
- Filippo Maria Gambari, Soprintendente per i Beni Archeologici dell’Emilia-Romagna
- Maria Bernabò Brea, Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Emilia-Romagna
- Andrea Cardarelli, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma
- Iames Tirabassi, Civici Musei di Reggio Emilia
- Lorenza Bronzoni, Soc. Coop. AR/S Archeosistemi
After the lectures, guided tours will be held from 3pm until 6pm to see the cup!
If you can’t make it on the 28th, the cup will be viewable Monday through Saturday from 9am to 1pm, and from 3pm to 6pm. On Sundays, it will be open 9am to 1pm, and 3pm to 7pm. There will be another guided tour at 4pm on October 5th.
- Reggio nel Web: “La Tazza d’Oro torna a Montecchio”
- Popular Archeology: “Bronze Age Golden Cup Unearthed in Italy”
- ArcheoBo: “The Gold Cup of Montecchio Emilia: a princely Treasure from 3,800 years ago”
- ARCHEOFILÍA: “Sensazionale scoperta archeologica a Montecchio Emilia (RE)”