The group of “Golden Bronzes from Cartoceto Pergola” is the only group of gilded bronze in the world come from Roman times to the present days.
The complex is likely a family group, originally consisting of two pairs of female figures draped and veiled, and two knights as high military rank, richly ornamented with horses.
Some hundreds of fragments of gilded bronze, weighing 9 tons, were discovered accidentally in the basement 26 June 1946 in the village of Saint Lucia Calamello, two peasants who were digging in their fields located in the parish of Cartoceto, in the town of Pergola (PU). The discovery was reported by canonic Giovanni Vernarecci, honorary inspector at that time in Fossombrone. Thanks to his typed testimony we know the eventful circumstances of the discovery and its execution in a state of emergency. Vernarecci, concerned about the fate of the findings, called urgently Nereo Alfieri, inspector of the Superintendent of Antiquities of the Marche, who reached the spot, he completed the excavation and prevented the theft of artifacts and selling them on the illegal antiquities market.
The first restoration was done by sculptor Bruno Bearzi of Florence, who, for more than ten years, he offered his work for free just for the honor of working on a monument so precious. The restoration appeared very difficult, because of the large number (hundreds) of fragments, and also because the pieces had intentionally deformed before burial, in 1959 the remains were returned to the National Archaeological Museum of the Marche, where they remained exposed until 1972.
From 1972 to 1988, the gilt bronzes were the subject of a later restoration, by the laboratory for the restoration of the Superintendency of Antiquities of Florence, which enabled to integrate several other statues in fragments previously assembled, up to the reconstruction of 318 fragments in four characters, two male and two female horse standing. Once finished the restoration, after a series of exhibitions in Italy and abroad, the gilded bronzes returned to be exhibited at the National Museum, but this time not as individual pieces, but as a single group of statues. By now it was clear that they represented the only group in gilded bronze sculpture surviving from the Roman times.
I Bronzi Dorati di Pergola – Museum SIte.