The terramara of Montale, near Modena in Northern Italy, is a typical Bronze Age settlement with pile dwellings surrounded by a ditch with water and imposing earthwork fortifications.
Next to the site is an Open-Air Museum with life-size reconstructions of two houses furnished with replicas of the original finds dating back 3500 years.
Near Modena (between Parma and Bologna), in the small village of Montale, the Modena Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum opened 2004 a satellite museum: an open-air archaeological presentation themed with the Bronze Age settlement of the Terramara Culture (II Millennium BC). The “Parco Montale” – as one of the first of its kind in Northern Italy – is constructed, partly based on consultation of specialists from Germany and Austria.
The Parco has a small modern entry building, a visitor centre where the archaeology of the site is explained and an open-air area with two larger Bronze Age houses. By first visiting the archaeological centre, people get a good introduction into the open-air area.
It attracts many school groups and during Sundays just before and after the Summer many tourists as well. However the Parco is mainly used by school groups. The reason to construct these facilities exactly here are the well preserved remains of the Terramara Group. After extensive research into the remarkably many artefacts, archaeologists wanted to present the results in a very clear and direct way. A lot of attention is paid to the explanation of archaeological methods, more than in many other places. Visitors are also explained about time depth. The archaeological data are rigorously checked. The houses are designed and furnished as open-air exhibitions rather than as to be used as living history. For tourists, the Sundays are a great occasion. Specialists from Italy and abroad are presenting here activities like bronze casting, wood working, making rope or ceramics et cetera.
The park was started after the success of a big terramare exhibition held in Modena in 1987 and it was due to the common will of the Comune di Modena and the Comune of Castelnuovo Rangone. Together they financed more than 50% of the total costs. Additional resources were found with the EU project “Archaeolive” and through the contributions of local organizations (Regione, Provincia, Bank Foundation). A previous agreement was signed also with the Soprintenedenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Emilia Romagna (which is the regional agency of the governmental department for Cultural Affairs).