On the third rurAllure General Meeting held at the University of Padua on 27 – 29 January 2022, the project partners discovered thermal heritage of Montegrotto Terme, its Museum of Ancient Thermalism and the Territory – the research area of the Thermal Heritage pilot, situated on the Via Romea Strata.
The group was greeted by the Mayor, Riccardo Mortandello and city councillors Pier Luigi Sponton, Elisabetta Roetta and Luca Fanton, before embarking on a guided tour of what is much more than a simple museum, but a truly multifaceted archaeological experience.
A full immersion in historic thermalism via learning about findings from the excavations in Montegrotto Terme, including ex voto, coins, terracotta and bronze artifacts, votive statuettes depicting parts of human body, animal statuettes, precious objects. The relics were often accompanied by inscriptions about healing properties or detailed information on the use of thermal water. Thanks to the findings, it was possible to reconstruct an architecture of an ancient spa, which in some cases looked like a small city, with bathrooms, gyms, libraries and reading rooms.
Near-by Montegrotto lay Euganean hills, a unique geographical area, famous for its healing thermo-mineral, richly present here thanks to the rainwater coming from the Venetian pre-Alps. The hills were well known for their healing water since the Romans, which controlled it during 3rd – 2nd centuries BC.
The rurAllure partners also visited the Montegrotto archaeological area in Via Scavi, a part of the Aquae Patavinae enhancement project. The complex, dating back to the 1st century BC and discovered in 1780, consists of thermal baths, a theatre and a building with a circular tub used for individual baths or ablutions.
Walking on a pilgrimage route truly is a discovery, here in the Veneto region a traveller walks along the Via Romea Strata, exploring archaeological areas, visiting museums and of course relaxing in thermal water.