The National Archaeological Museum of Cividale was instituted on the initiative of the Count Michele della Torre Valvassina, an erudite canonical who in the early nineteenth century carried out pioneering archaeological campaigns in the city and the surrounding countryside.
Exhibited in the museum is a collection of sculptures from the late ancient and high middle ages period (approximately 500 A.D. to 1000 A.D.), originally destined to adorn the major holy buildings of the city. Grouped in the end hall are artefacts from the Romanic era.
In the internal courtyard of the palace, one can view heterogeneous stone elements: seals and funereal tombstones, a sepulchral ark, architectural fragments from diverse eras, and a rich [large?] series of “macebe”, that is, vertical tomb stones of the Jewish community residing in Cividale from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries.
Exhibited on the main floor are the most significant testimonies of the Lombards, originating from burial grounds discovered in Cividale and its surroundings.
An interesting collection of findings originating mainly from the Cividale necropolis of San Stefano in Pertica, dated from the second half of the sixth to the first half of the seventh centuries, can be viewed whilst following the exhibition route.
Also exhibited in the museum is a private collection of fifty-six Lombard golden coins. Some are extremely rare and even not listed in the official bibliography. It is considered to be the second biggest collection of its kind in the world for the number and the importance of the golden pieces.Exhibited in the central hall of the main floor are some elements of bronze architectural decoration from the Roman era forum of Zuglio, amongst which is the famous head portrait, the dating of which is still the subject of speculation amongst the scholars.