The “Collezione Torlonia di Antichità del Fucino” has been on display in the prestigious premises of the Castello Piccolomini di Celano since 10 may 2003 in a specific archaeological Section of the Museo Nazionale della Marsica.
The materials of the collection, whose origins are scarcely known, were found during the works on the draining of the Fucino lake, according to the wishes of Principe Alessandro Torlonia, These works were completed in 1875. They were kept inside the old Torlonia palace in Avezzano and only in 1895 they were exhibited to the public in the wooden octagonal pavillon on the grounds of the castle, where they were kept also after the earthquake of 1915, which razed to the ground the entire city of Avezzano.
The collection was once again moved to the Torlonia palace after its reconstruction and, in 1936, the first inventory was drawn up with the division in ten classes of the 184 objects and 344 coins.
Saved by the bombings of 1943 because they were hidden in an armoured shelter, the materials were placed in the attic of the palace after the Liberazione. They were kept there until the Torlonia da Avezzano were sent away after the landed property reform of 1950.
Following the destiny of the family, the archaeological findings were transported to Rome to the residence of the Principe, where they remained inaccessible for many years both to the public and to the historians.
The entire Collezione Torlonia was acquired in 1994 by the Ministero per Beni e le Attività Culturali, to be exhibited in the present building.
The collection, besides the important architectural embellishments which with the views of a city and of the surrounding territory evoke the ancient lacustral landscape, includes also coins, statuettes, sculptures, weapons and utensils which refer to a period of time which goes from the III millennium BC up to the XVI century. Through the visit the archaeological findings are exhibited in a chronological sequence. Some didactic panels give explanations about the story of the transformation of the territory of the Fucino and details of the historic-scientific aspect of the material which is on display.
A defined space made up of scenographic scenes which reproduce enlarged details of the bas-relief of the Collezione complete the archaeological section; inside a multivision is projected on three screens. The themes are the two important events which deeply changed the morphology, the life and the economy of the Marsica territory: the draining of the Fucino Lake and the earthquake of Marsica on 13 January 1915.
The Museo, which rose from the collaboration between the Soprintendenza BAAAS di L’Aquila and the Diocesi dei Marsi, exhibits, protects and enhances the value of the rich artistic Marsican patrimony.
In the museum collection, prevalently made up of works which were previously exhibited in the Museo Nazionale di L’Aquila and the Museo di Palazzo Venezia di Roma, there are numerous artistic works which did not have the necessary security measures in the churches where they were kept.
Entirely set up on the piano nobile, the Museo is made up of eleven spacious exhibition rooms and it is subdivided into several sections.