Museum of Prehistory: from the Neolithic period to the Roman Empire
Museum of Prehistory: from the Neolithic period to the Roman Empire
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Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory

Sforza Castle

General information

The exhibits in Museum of prehistory and protohistory are chronologically arranged, and they illustrate the history of mankind in northern Italy from Neolithic times up to the Ancient Roman colonization in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.

The exhibition sequence begins with the Neolithic civilization at Lagozza (Besnate, near Varese), dating back to the 4th millennium B.C., a pile-dwelling settlement. The Bronze Age (2200-1200 B.C. circa) is illustrated by archaeological findings both from timber pile-dwellings in eastern Lombardy, and from tombs discovered in the western part of Lombardy and attributed to civilizations differing to the pile-dwelling settlements (the Scamozzina and Canegrate civilizations).

The items shown throw light on the principal aspects of the period: agriculture, animal husbandry, and the decoration of horn, bone and metals.

The first Iron Age is represented by the Golasecca civilization (near Varese), which illustrates the transition from relatively simple and undifferentiated communities, whose tombs are all rather basic and similar one to another, to a period in which an aristocratic class developed, with tombs containing a wealth of extraordinarily lavish items. An example is the “First Warrior Tomb” in Sesto Calende (second half of the 7th century B.C.).

The Celtic civilization in Italy (4th century B.C.) is documented by the objects found in warriors' tombs, and by women's ornaments. From the 2nd century B.C. on, relations between Celts and Romans became more intense, and the tombs of the Gallic “Barbarians” began to contain quality objects of Roman production (bronze containers, strigils, and black-glaze table ceramics. Over the years, this interaction became increasingly frequent, documenting the progressive integration between local civilizations in the world of Ancient Rome.

Don't miss

Don't miss the funeral objects from the Scamozzina Monza Alba civilization (14th- 13th century B.C.) and the Canegrate civilization (13th century B.C.).

Likewise the “First Warrior's Tomb” with its remarkable collection of artefacts, dating to the 7th century B.C., is remarkably interesting. It was discovered by a farmer in Sesto Calende.

Useful details

MM1 Cairoli Castello – MM2 Lanza Piccolo Teatro


  • A wheelchair user can independently access the museum entrance and visit all the exhibition rooms. The toilet facilities - equipped in compliance with regulations for persons with physical disabilities - can also be independently accessed.
  • Halls 9, 10-15-23, 24 are not accessible for wheelchair visitors.
  • Audio guides are available: press number 5 on the tactile keypad.
  • Music workshops are organized for visitors with cognitive impairment (La voci della città). Reservations are required by phone and /or email.
  • Free entry for disabled visitors.
  • The museum is equipped with an audible fire alarm system.


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      • Ticket information

        € 5
        Reduced price: € 3
        This single ticket gives entry to all the Castello museums

        3 days ticket to the Civic Museums: € 12

        Free admission every first and third Tuesday of the month from 14:00 and every first Sunday of the month for the whole day

        Free admission: visitors up to the age of 18; high school students and accompanying teachers of school groups; tourist guides and tourist interpreters accompanying groups; disabled people and their carers; journalists; people with disabilities; scholars with special permission from the Museum management; officials of state and regional superintendencies; members of the ICOM.

        Admission with reduction: EU citizens between the ages of 18 and 25; University students and Fine Arts Academies; adults over 65 years

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