The Civic Museum of Archaeology and Sacred Art is housed within the beautiful Palazzo Corboli, which formerly was known as Fattoria Bargagli. The ancient building with its richly decorated walls is of great historic importance, and stands as a rare example of a Medieval palatium. It was constructed by Siena’s Bandinelli family, who were merchants and owners of mills and other buildings, during the second decade of the 13th century when the Republic of Siena extended its rule over the territory of Asciano.
Despite significant structural changes over the course of the centuries, the palazzo still conserves several original portions such as the Sala di Aristotele (the Aristotle Room) and the Sala delle Stagioni(the Room of the Seasons) which boasts two allegorical fresco cycles from the 1300s, attributed to Cristoforo di Bindoccio and Meo di Pero. The frescoes contain ethical and political messages intended for the people who frequented these rooms.
The Sacred Art section leads visitors through paintings by the greatest Sienese artists from the 13th to the 17th century. On view are the Nascita della Vergine (Nativity of the Virgin) by the Maestro dell’Osservanza and other works by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Taddeo di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, Rutilio Manetti, Bernardino Mei and Francesco Nasini, as well as several sculptures in wood including exceptional pieces by Francesco di Valdambrino and Giovanni Pisano.
Here, Sienese artists—in “the province” one century later—celebrate the tradition of the city’s master painters from the 1300s, demonstrating a trend of commissions by the newly emerging agrarian aristocracy. Also worthy of attention is the museum’s collection of goldwork and liturgical furnishings.
A remarkable exhibition brings together Medieval and modern ceramics, including priceless finds of archaic majolica recently dug up from a pit in which objects were discarded during the Middle Ages. An outstanding piece is a jug in archaic majolica, so finely decorated as to be truly one-of-a-kind.
The Archaeological Section houses Etrusco-Roman artifacts from the Upper Ombrone Valley. On display are pieces from the rich excavations at the Etruscan necropolises at Poggio Pinci and the Molinello Tumulus (Asciano), and from the princely tomb in the Poggione Necropolis (Castelnuovo Berardenga), including the extremely rare Etruscan cart.
These archaeological finds illustrate the artistry and wealth of the Etruscan population that inhabited this region from the 7th century B.C. to the Roman Era. Ancient Roman discoveries are shown here, too, in pieces unearthed at the Campo Muri thermal bath compound (Rapolano Terme).