The Athena Museum in Capannori is a unique museum in the territory and through its collection, narrates various yet complementary chapters of this area of the Lucca plain. There are three main exhibitions inside the museum: an archeological exposition, an area dedicated to rural life and another that highlights the life of Carlo Piaggia, a local explorer.
Traces of the past can be seen in particular on the first floor, where artefacts like coins, amphorae and chalices attest to life in the area in the Roman period. There are also important discoveries on the display on the ground floor, where visitors can see epigraphs, texts carved into stone that show the names of families and people who lived in Antiquity. Of the most important discoveries, there’s definitely the wooden building from Frizzone, which probably belonged to a larger village. Dated to between the 2nd and 1st century BCE, theories about its purpose range from grain storage to a temple for ancient rituals.
To learn more about rural life on the Lucca plain, visit the rooms dedicated to farming culture. This is where visitors can find all the tools used for cultivating fields, and, with the aid of images, explore the how the work was done.
The final space is focused on the experiences of Carlo Piaggia, the son of peasants who left for Africa in the mid-1800s.
The building is also a pick-up point for credentials for pilgrims walking the via Francigena.
Capannori, in fact, has always been a place of meeting and travel as it is along the ancient route. For this reason, in front of the museum, you can see the "Labirinto del Pellegrino" or Capannori LAByrinth, a permanent wooden installation, also accessible to visually impaired people, which follows the shape of a scallop, the symbol of the Francigena route.