Parre: Parra-oppidum degli Orobi
In Parre, at the Archaeological Park, the remains of the settlement of ancient Parra, an important centre (oppidum) of the Orobi, mentioned in Roman sources and active from the 11th century BC to the late Roman age (5th century AD), can be seen in a very evocative landscape.
The site of Parre-località Castello is probably to be identified with the oppidum Oromobiorum Parra mentioned in Roman sources (Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia).
In 1883, a rich hoard of bronze artefacts from the 5th century BC was found at the locality “Castello”; in 1983, on the centenary of the first discoveries, archaeological excavations began – which continued uninterruptedly until 2011 – bringing to light a settlement consisting of dwellings with an orthogonal plan, founded in the Late Bronze Age (12th-10th centuries BC) and developed during the 1st millennium BC in the Iron Age until the Roman conquest of the Alpine valleys in the Augustan Age, reaching an extension of 13000 square metres, of which wall structures, paved floors and natural sinkholes remain, in addition, of course, to the archaeological finds. After being abandoned for a few centuries, the site was reoccupied in the Roman Imperial period (late 2nd/3rd-5th centuries) and finally abandoned in the 5th century.
In 2001, thanks also to regional funding, the area was acquired by the Municipality. In 2013, in synergy with the Superintendence for Bergamo and Brescia, the municipal administration inaugurated the Archaeological Park and the Antiquarium, which together constitute Parra Oppidum degli Orobi.
The remains of the old settlement can be seen in the Park: the dwellings found here belong to the model of the alpine house, quadrangular in shape, sunken, with walls of stone and wood, probably with a raised floor and a roof of wood or branches and straw. Of the structures, only the floors and the stone bases of the walls have been preserved: those visible have been secured by a shelter and a fence.
The Antiquarium houses the finds discovered during the excavations: the exhibition is divided into a path dedicated to the discovery of the Orobi and one dedicated to metallurgy and craft activities.
The collection consists of pottery, bronze and glass ornaments, stone tools, bone and antler objects and coins. They illustrate the daily activities that took place in the settlement and the exchanges with neighbouring Central-Alpine and Celtic populations. The visit is accompanied by illustrated educational panels in Italian and English.
Both the Park and the Antiquarium, which are not far from each other, offer free access and guided tours. They also offer educational workshops, cultural events, conferences, etc. There are no architectural barriers: the Oppidum is part of the Hospitality without Barriers project. (inserire link: www.valseriana.eu/ospitalita-senza-barriere)
The visit can take place either on its own or as part of the activities offered throughout the year for different audiences.
Inscribed stone washer
Inscription Katua or Kateua on a pierced stone disc resembling a spinning whorl.
This is a personal female name, derived from the Celtic stem catu (battle). The earliest examples of writing in Parre date to the 5th-4th century BC. The alphabet employed was derived from the northern Etruscan alphabet adapted to the Celtic
language and the inscriptions were written without distinction from both left to right and right to left.
Bucket pendant from Middle Iron Age levels (late 6th-4th century BC). This is an ornament characteristic of the Celts (Celti golasecchiani), also present in Bergamo, who populated the plain and the hillside.
Other objects typical of this culture have also been found in Parre, testifying to the relationship with this Celtic population.
Low cup with curved profile
Low cup with curved profile and decorated with large incisions (Middle Iron Age, phase E of the settlement, 5th century BC). Cups of this type are characteristic of the ‘Fritzens-Sanzeno’ culture, which was widespread in Trentino and the lower Tyrol between the 6th and 1st centuries BC.
The presence of a fragment of this artefact in Parre is evidence of contact with these Alpine peoples.
Pebble with cup-marks
Pebble with cup-marks and engravings from the Middle Iron Age levels (late 6th-4th century BC), a period when the settlement of Parre assumed a regular layout with houses all oriented north-south belonging to the model of the ‘alpine house’, sunken and with stone walls. Such pebbles with cup-marks and linear incisions are common throughout the Alpine region, and are found both in settlements and in association with cult activities.
Fibula of the Misano type
Fibula of the Misano type, which takes its name from the cemetry of Misano di Gera d’Adda (BG); it is characteristic of the second Iron Age (4th – 2nd century BC), a time when new building work was carried out in the settlement of Parre, as indicated by the construction of two new houses. In this period, influences from the Po Valley become more evident, as testified by this fibula, with a threadlike arch raised towards the bilateral spring, considered characteristic of the Insubres.
The educational proposals are divided into two main stages:
– educational routs: these take the children to discover the Archaeological Park and the Antiquarium. Inside the museum they will then guided by a museum educator in the reading of the chosen topic through observation sheets and supported by Power Point presentations. They have a strong interactive role component;
– workshops: workshops are the real moment when the hands-on methodology is put into practice. Often the particularity of the themes linked to experimental archaeology does not allow primary school pupils to deal with practical workshops directly at school. For this reason, themes from the museum’s collections (e.g. weaving and pottery making) have been identified, which are discovered by the pupils through practical work, thus making them protagonists of the activity.
There is also the possibility of developing composite learning projects, which can be of two types:
- a first proposal is structured within the offer of Educational Services and consists of an introductory module in the classroom, a museum trip and a revision module;
- different will be the planning agreed with teachers on specially designed topics and activities whose duration and cost will be quantifiable from time to time.
This kind of project is particularly suitable for secondary schools as a supplement to the knowledge of the territory and to the approach of museum realities and professions.
for the visit
Saturdays 3 p.m. – 6 p.m, Sundays 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Public holidays 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Openings on request.
Piazza San Rocco, 24020 Parre (BG). Telephone: Municipality 035 701002, Tourism office 331 7740890;
Sito web oppidumparre.it
from the Museum the staff will accompany you to the Archaeological Park located in the immediate vicinity. Near the square there are convenient parking facilities.
entrance to the structure (ramps etc.)
- possibility to use wheelchairs
- possibility of using aids for manual mobility
- Bathroom for the disabled
Seating / rest areas