The main aim of these structures is to provide instruments to arouse visitors' curiosity, interest, and imagination, educating them to respect the nature that has been handed down to us by our ancestors. The territory is represented and described through archaeological finds and traditions, attractions establishing a contact between visitors, culture, and traditions, some of which are still alive in the protected area.
Each structure is presented in its territorial context and develops according to a specific thread, different in each Visitor Center.
Since the early Paleolithic period, man has alwasy exploited the vocation of this territory characterized by the river and its affluents, occupying the hills and terracing and populating the area with Etruscan and Roman towns and villages at first, and with castles and fortified towns during the Middle Ages. The museums deal with this history developing around the river.
The historical investigations regarding the course of the river Tiber reveal a constant human presence, dating back at least to the Neolithic period: as a matter of fact, Piana caves have given back remains of skeletons and some stone and ceramic handicrafts dating back to this period. San Francesco, Santa Romana, and Forello caves have given back finds of the Bronze Age (from 18th to 10th century BC). San Lorenzo necropolis, in the Municipality of Montecchio, witnesses the presence of the Etruscan and Umbrian civilization. Several hypogeal tombs of the 7th-4th century BC have been found in location Copio, scattered near the river. The materials found are mainly burial objects: buccheri, jewels, vases, everyday life tools, arms. They are on display in the Antiquarium in Tenaglie.
During the Roman period, the river was without a doubt the protagonist of history. Besides being the cradle of civilization, the river Tiber had an important economic function: several bridges and landing places were built along its course, favored by the navigability of the waters. This is also witnessed by place names: near Todi, Pian di Porto and Pontecuti rose next to the bridge standing where the two banks are closer and gave back important finds of the pre-Roman and Roman period. Further evidences are Barca di Salviano, Porto do Pagliano, and Madonna del Porto in the south, recalling another river landing stage. The veneration of the ancient people for god Tiberinus is witnesses by an altar preserved in the Antiquarium in Baschi.Ego sum pleno quem flumine cernis
Stringentem ripas et pinguia culta
secantem, caeruleus Thybris, caelo
Hic mihi magna domus, celsis
caput urbibus exit.
I am him whom you see
Virgil Aeneid, book VIII, 65-68,
scouring the banks with my full stream
and cutting through rich farmlands,
blue Tiber, the river most dear to heaven.
Here is my noble house,
my fount flows through noble cities.
Aeneas' dream-vision of Tiberinus