At the beginning of the excavations in San Casciano dei Bagni, when the first significant discoveries of 2020 took place, many mysteries surrounded the archaeological site. Ancient sources had already warned us about the Roman presence in this place, but the historical prevalence of the Etruscan heritage in the province of Siena evidently raised many questions.
Today, three years later, with the continuation of the excavation campaign and with the parallel research activity, we have more and more answers, which are reported in a new volume "Il Santuario Ritrovato 2 - Inside the Sacred Vasca. Preliminary Excavation Report at the Bagno Grande of San Casciano dei Bagni”, presented yesterday evening, Thursday 18 May, in San Casciano dei Bagni.
As we have learned in recent months, the bronzes that emerged from the muddy waters of the Bagno Grande, as well as the numerous votive offerings and other objects, are to be considered an Etruscan-Roman heritage, proof of the fact that the Santuario Ritrovato was a meeting place for the two civilisations, united by a common fascination for the therapeutic waters of this corner of Tuscany. While wars were fought elsewhere, San Casciano dei Bagni was an oasis of peace, where people prayed and healed together.
Speaking of medicine and divination, the latest studies present us with particularly suggestive scenarios, which make us understand how deep the link between these two aspects was. The discovery of a surgical instrument, next to two refined bronze reproductions of human internal organs, lets us imagine that there was a real medical school next to the sanctuary.
San Casciano was therefore a place of all-round care and well-being, where both the mind and body would regenerate. But why was this obviously relevant therapeutic center abandoned? Archaeologists, historians and researchers seem to have discovered the cause: in the first thirty years of the first century AD, lightning struck near the thermal spring. An episode that the ancient Romans certainly interpreted as a bad omen, a sign sent directly by the gods so that their followers would move away from this location.
The Romans would therefore have hurriedly buried the statues and other objects, and then fled. What they didn't know is that the mud from the thermal basins would be decisive in the conservation of their treasures, which we are finally rediscovering on the occasion of a special exhibition at the Quirinale (home of the Presidency of the Italian Republic), between 22 June and 22 October. It will be a first meeting with the public for these finds already so famous around the world, before the permanent exhibition is set up in the future National Museum, at the Palazzo dell'Arcipretura in San Casciano dei Bagni.
Discover the Santuario Ritrovato with Valdichiana Living's tours. Combine the discovery of the archaeological site with a relaxing afternoon in the thermal waters or with a hike along the paths surrounding San Casciano dei Bagni.