After the lombards (a Germanic tribe) invaded and defeated the byzantine empire in northern Italy in 568, their population started to settle and colonise the area, electing Cividale as their capital. The museum tells the story of this barbarian population which occupied Friuli for two centuries through the many artifacts which were retrieved in the area. While lombards were illiterate, many of the object found show evidence of high artistical skills with a style which remained very different from the one of the local roman population. The museum displays some of the artifacts as they were found originally in the tomb: see as an example the warrior buried with his horse!
The museum also exhibits some finds related to the earlier roman period, however I found the Lombard section the true highlight and something unique which you won't see elsewhere. For the coin collector there are some wonderful Lombard coins including many gold coins, one entire room and parts of another focused almost exclusively on the Lombard era. If you are interested in early Venetian coins I believe you will find an artistic relationship can be found between the Lombard and early Venetian Republic coinage. See if you agree.
If you are an archeologist or metal detectorist there is plenty to pour over here. The heart of the museum is a series of preserved Lombard burial plots. The first part of the museum contains few to no coins, but toward the end there is a well-displayed section of mostly gold coins which kept me entertained. Don't just go to Cividale for the museum - make sure to walk around the town and soak in the atmosphere. Make sure to have lunch at Trattoria Al Campanile near the front steps of the church next to the museum.
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