The history of the museum

One of the most important pile-dwelling villages in the Alpine area inhabited during the Bronze Age.

The Lake Ledro Pile-dwelling Museum was founded as a local branch of the MUSE – Science Museum in the 1970s, and offers visitors a chance to explore Bronze Age daily life, thanks to reconstructions and the original remains of a pile-dwelling village (2200-1350 BC) found on the eastern shore of the lake and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.

After thousands of years, the Ledro pile-dwelling remains were rediscovered in the autumn of 1929, when the level of the lake was lowered due to the works of the hydroelectric plant under construction in Riva del Garda.

More than ten thousand poles emerged from the surface of the southern shore of the lake, testimony to one of the largest prehistoric settlements discovered in Italy until then, and still today one of the biggest in Europe.

Thanks to a major investment by the Autonomous Province of Trento, the museum was completely renovated in 2019, confirming the local government’s focus on culture, heritage and history in every area of the Trentino region.

The museum exhibits part of the refined handicrafts of the pile-dwelling village, one of the most important in the Alps. Four huts, complete with furnishings and fittings, have been reconstructed to show a cross-section of prehistoric daily life, allowing visitors to get a hands-on glimpse of how our ancestors lived.

The museum’s new layout has removed all borders and obligatory routes, in favour of a dynamic, transparent, light, direct, immediate, spectacular and inclusive design.

Structured around four themes, the exhibition explores prehistoric life starting from the macro level, investigating pile-dwellings as an Alpine and European phenomenon, before closing in on the village and the surrounding area, and finally reaching the micro level of individual lives, their activities and the many small and large things that make us different, yet similar, to the pile-dwellers 4000 years ago.

Must-see finds

Fabric

Thanks to the lake’s clay bed some plant-based objects have survived, such as balls of wool, pieces of netting, various types of fabric with woven seed decorations, and a band-belt with a concentric diamond-shaped, brocade-like pattern.

Bronze items

Bronze was the most important and innovative material used in the period named after it, when the pile-dwelling village dates from, and key finds include tiaras, pins, axe blades and a fascinating "Ledro-type dagger".

A canoe

Made from a single, 5m-long piece of fir tree, the canoe is the most important wooden find from the excavations. It was originally made around 3,600 years ago and was probably used to transport materials and tools from one side of the lake to the other or to reach the most suitable places for fishing.

Bread

Yes, our ancestors ground cereals and made bread too! The history of bread begins in the Palaeolithic, was developed in ancient Egypt and has even been found in Ledro, like the loaf displayed in one of the "jewel showcases".

ReLED

A network of museums throughout the Ledro Valley

The Ledro Valley ReLED museum network was first set up in 2012. It is spread out over a territory that acts as a bridge between Lake Garda and Lake Idro, and offers the chance for in-depth study and research in a range of subjects, such as archaeology, botany, history, ethnography, zoology, biology and ancient crafts.

The network runs fun workshops, activities and guided tours for adults and children in collaboration with the Network of Reserves of the Ledrensi Alps, and includes the Pile-Dwelling Museum, the Garibaldi and WW2 Museum, the Colle Ossario di Santo Stefano, the Visitors’ Centre of Lake Ampola, the Mons. Ferrari Visitors’ Centre for the Flora and Fauna of Tremalzo, the International Ringing Centre in Casèt, the Foletto Pharmaceutical Laboratory Museum and the Forge of Pré.

Staff

Donato Riccadonna
donato.riccadonna@muse.it
Ledro-ReLED Museum Network Manager

Romana Scandolari
romana.scandolari@muse.it
Paleontologist, Museum conservationist

Luca Scoz
luca.scoz@muse.it
Historical-cultural officials

Alessandro Fedrigotti
alessandro.fedrigotti@muse.it
Historical-cultural officials

Matilde Peterlini
matilde.peterlini@muse.it
Historical-cultural official
Coordinator of the network of reserves in the Ledrense and Valle del Chiese Alps

Eleonora Pisoni
eleonora.pisoni@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Simone Floresta
simone.floresta@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Manuela Pernter
manuela.pernter@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Sabrina Buscè
sabrina.busce@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Marta Gobbi
marta.gobbi@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Luisa Proni
luisa.proni@muse.it
Historical-cultural assistants

Research

The museum over the years has been the subject of numerous research activities by experts and scholars.

To access the bibliography, consult historical materials and view the research, please contact the museum.

Tel: +39 0464 508182
Mail: museo.ledro@muse.it