October 6 – November 11, 2015

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Room 2 and 3

Diploma di Federico I Imperatore, 24 maggio 1159

For the first time in its centuries-old history, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana shows some of its oldest and most valuable documents on parchment.

They are royal and imperial diplomas, papal bulls and private documents, dating from the IX up to the XII century. They are all related by the theme of water, seen from different perspectives:

- Owning water

- Defending and attacking

- Navigating

- Water and Earth

The regional territory analyzed is the course of the Adda river.

The papers document the history of the river, starting from it springs in Val Alpisella and then crossing the territory of Valtellina, dividing it in a “this side” and a “beyond” the Adda. Then they follow the course up to Lake Como. Ancient documents tell of trades between the Valtellina and the plains: tell of boats that ply the Lario carrying the precious wine of the Valtellina; of warehouses on the Island Comacina that preserve wine and oil in barrels. Acts of ancient notaries describe lunches based on fish and turnips; they tell of battles and wars, particularly commemorating the ten years long battle between Como and Milan (1118-1127).

Then, in the plain, the papers meet the Lambro river with crystal clear water, contended for the irrigation of fields. Finally they meet the Ticino, with its bridges and its boats, up to the Po.

Next to the ancient scriptures, the protagonists of each section, the exhibition displays archaeological finds coming from different Lombard institutions.

The archaeological materials, discovered in areas documented by medieval writings, make it easy to understand the theme of each section. For example, fishing weights in lead, of Imperial Age, were found in Colonno. Besides them there was also a bronze network needle: its shape, constant over the centuries, documents a millenary fishing tradition, lasting until a few years ago.

An exhibition for schools

The guided tour of the exhibition is included in the normal entrance fee of the gallery, but it must be specifically requested (in addition to the usual reservation for entry in the Gallery).

The students, together with their teachers, will be able to enjoy a free guided tour of the exhibition of the parchments, which lasts about half an hour and with a guide specifically dedicated to schools.


Pinacoteca Ambrosiana booking office

For groups consisting of min 10 students

tel. , Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00


INFO: www.acquedellalombardiamedievale.it