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  • Piazzetta S. Maria
  • Desio
  • Italy
  • Lombardy
  • Monza Brianza
  • Desio



  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

  • AIAC_logo logo

Summary (English)

  • During work on the renovation of piazzetta S. Maria a trench was opened on the site where a fountain was due to be put in.
    Three substantial layers of jumbled human bones were revealed, in secondary deposition, dispersed between thin dumps of earth. The area had evidently been repeatedly used as an ossuary. The date for the period of use (post end of the 1500s – beginning of the 1600s) is provided by a small bronze medallion. One face depicts the Virgin Mary enthroned, holding the Christ child. The other, (which is more corroded and more difficult to interpret) probably shows the resurrection of Christ, with two Roman soldiers on either side who have fallen over backwards in amazement. This side bears the date 1579: the medallion was probably coined to commemorate Carlo Borromeo’s pastoral visit to Desio which occurred in that year. A trillina of Philip II (c.1575 – 1595) fits into the same chronology, whilst a denaro or bissolo visconteo is earlier. The other finds, from within the layers between the bones, which can be dated for the first time, comprise fragments of rosaries with bronze chains and wooden and bone beads, several black, glass-paste buttons probably from priests robes, an open-headed thimble, a modest bronze spiral ring and a few large iron nails. The coins may have been placed on the bodies according to the custom attested, for example, in the contemporary tombs found, still in situ, in the parish church of S. Agnese at Somma Lombarda (Varese). (Laura Simone Zopfi)



  • Monica Motto - Società Lombarda di Archeologia s.r.l. Milano
  • Laura Simone Zopfi - Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia
  • Nicoletta Vismara
  • Rodolfo Martini

Research Body

Funding Body

  • Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Lombardia


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