Recent archaeological finds in Bibione
Tourists flock to the renowned beach resort of Bibione on the Adriatic coast because of its broad, golden beach, crystal-clear water, wide range of services and vast array of accommodation facilities, including modern, welcoming hotels.
It’s heaven for visitors who want to relax and have fun in the summer, but it also boasts hidden historic treasures dating back to Roman times.
One of the most recent and fascinating archaeological finds in Bibione is an ancient Roman coastal villa known as “Mutteron dei Frati”, which is inside the Valgrande conservation area.
An international team of 20 archaeologists – including students from the universities of Regensburg (Germany) and Padua – have so far investigated an area of approximately 60 m² in search of related finds. The young archaeologists have organized and led a number of tours, enthusiastically telling participants about the history of the site and the archaeological remains that have been found.
Valgrande: The importance of the natural site
As well as bearing witness to the wonders of the ancient world, Villa “Mutteron dei Frati” is surrounded by a stunning natural area called “Valgrande”. Spanning no fewer than 360 hectares, it was initially marshland and only later developed into fish farming grounds for various species, including eels, European bass, grey mullet and gilt-head bream. Over time, people came to realize the importance of preserving the site for the local ecosystem, so it was protected and made into a conservation area. It’s an ideal habitat for many animal species,such as birds, fallow and roe deer, foxes, badgers, hedgehogs and tortoises. The conditions also help to preserve a wide variety of flora.
There are a number of natural trails in the area that you can follow on foot, by bike or in a kayak, trying to spot wildlife as you move among the reeds, lakes and woods. The natural area makes a crucial contribution to the conservation of native species of flora and fauna. It’s showcased in order to promote more sustainable tourism.
The natural riches and beauty of “Valgrande” unquestionably enhance the “Villa Mutteron dei Frati” experience by enabling all visitors to immerse themselves in local history and the marvellous natural environment at the same time.
Story and background of Villa Mutteron dei Frati
“Villa Mutteron dei Frati” in Bibione was discovered as long ago as the mid-18th century, when two local history and archaeology enthusiasts got people to start excavating the site.
The Veneto Archaeological Office pushed for further excavations, which took place at various times over the years. They gradually revealed more finds and decorated parts of the villa. The work was put on hold on a number of occasions due to a lack of funds. Finally, in November 2021 a team of Italian and German archaeologists coordinated by the University of Padua recommenced the investigation.
The villa is thought to have been built at some time around the early 1st century AD and then extended in Late Antiquity. It was constructed on a sand dune that stood near the Adriatic coast at the time. The word “Mutteron” means “sand dune”, hence the name “Villa Mutteron”.
The family that lived here probably made their living fishing and fish farming, as we can see from the terracotta weights for nets found on the site. Bearing in mind the luxury furnishings, decorations and frescoes that have been discovered, it is likely that they were affluent.
Recent excavations and archaeological discoveries
First of all, a geophysical survey was carried out on the old coastal dune. Covering an area of approximately 200 m² near the previously discovered remains of the ancient coastal villa, it gave the team a better understanding of the size of the site that needed to be excavated.
In 2023, during the new excavation phases the experts will conduct a long series of archaeological investigations and analyses in a large area stretching from the Tagliamento river to the Nicesolo canal in order to unearth important information about the ancient landscape, the economy and settlements in the past.
Some of the latest finds revealed by the most recent excavation by the universities of Regensburg and Padua include a totally intact oil lamp, several engraved tiles dating back to approximately the 3rd century AD and more mosaics that are bound to be extremely useful for reconstructing the history of the period.
Promotion and future prospects
In the near future, the aim of the group of experts who will proceed with the excavations is to discover and find out about new parts of the villa that will enable them to learn more about the period of construction, the dimensions of the villa, the owners, the economic and production activities that took place inside it and what sort of contacts they had with the outside world, by land and by sea.
A number of promotion initiatives have been launched in order to preserve “Villa Mutteron dei Frati” and harness its historical and cultural heritage. The site has been made accessible to the public thanks to walking routes and information panels to tell visitors about the history and architecture of the villa. A “slow approach” is taken to public visits in order to protect the environment and the animal species in the area.
From 18 June to 2 July 2023, five days of “Archeo Trekking” have been organized in the Valgrande conservation area, during which archaeologists from the universities of Regensburg and Padua will present the research and excavation projects for the “Mutteron dei Frati” Roman Villa.
In addition, various educational activities have been organized to engage tourists and the local community and highlight the importance of the archaeological site. In the future, there are plans to draw up more research programmes in order to find out more about “Villa Mutteron dei Frati” and its historical background.
To book, please contact Bibione IAT tourist information centre (84 Via Maja, Bibione): +39 0431 444846.
Organize a trip to “Villa Mutteron dei Frati”
The discovery and recovery of “Villa Mutteron dei Frati” in Bibione have shone a light on the fascinating past of the local area. A trip to the archaeological excavations is a wonderful way for visitors to immerse themselves in the customs of ancient Rome and admire the beauty of this grand, magnificent home.
Against the enchanting natural backdrop of “Valgrande”, the archaeological site presents an incredible opportunity to connect with the past and discover Bibione’s cultural riches. Book a stay in Bibione and as well as enjoying the sun, sea and sand… you can dive into the world of Ancient Rome.
Credits Facebook Page Bibione Antica: Discovering the Past