VA·6 Vergiate

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Proper name: Vergiate stela
Classification: stela

Material: stone
Size: height 223 cm, breadth 70 cm, width 20 cm
Condition: damaged
Autopsy by: Corinna Salomon
Date of autopsy: Jan 27 2022

Archaeological culture: Golasecca II
Date: end of 6th / beginning of 5th c. BC
Date derived from: typology

Site: Vergiate (Varese, Lombardia, Italy)
Field name: San Gallo di Ronchi
Coordinates (approx.): 45° 43' 36.94" N, 8° 42' 23.33" E
Find date: 1913
Find circumstances: by chance
Current location: Museo civico archeologico di Villa Mirabello (Varese)
Inventory no.: St 16127

Inscription: VA·6 (pelkui:pruiam:teu:karite:iṣ́os:kaṛite:palaṃ)

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 300
Solinas 1995: 119
Motta 2000: 1
Morandi 2004: 106

Sources: Morandi 2004: 594–596 no. 106



Images in Lattes & Nicodemi 1913: tav. IIa (photo = Rhŷs 1913: pl. VIII = Rhŷs 1914: pl. VI), Giussani 1914: 49, fig. 1 (photo) and 53, fig. 2 (drawing = Lattes 1914: 919, fig. 1), Tibiletti Bruno 1967: 34 (drawing), Tibiletti Bruno 1967b: 43 (photo = Tibiletti Bruno 1969c: 184), Tibiletti Bruno 1969c: 184 (drawing), Tibiletti Bruno 1970: 388, fig. 7 (drawing), Morandi 1982: tav. XLI (photo = Morandi 2001: 8, fig. 3 = Morandi 2004: tav. XV = Morandi 2017: 365, fig. 2), Gambari & Colonna 1988: 152 (drawing), De Marinis & Motta 1991: 207 (drawing), Piana Agostinetti 2004‎: 206, fig. 10.69 (drawing), De Marinis 2009e: 685, fig. 2 (drawing) and fig. 3 (photo of the cast at Gallarate), Prosdocimi & Solinas 2017: 356, fig. 4 (photo), Morandi 2017: 366, fig. 3 (drawing).

The mica schist stela, made of local stone, was found by chance in February 1913 less than a kilometre south-east of the litte church San Gallo di Ronchi, at the road from Vergiate to Cimbro. See Lattes & Nicodemi 1913, Piana Agostinetti 2004‎: 205–208 and De Marinis 2009e: 684 f. for details about the finding, and Banchieri 2003: fig. 160, Piana Agostinetti 2004‎: 207, fig. 10.70 and De Marinis 2009e: 684, fig. 1 for a map of the precise find spot (the area was surveyed by Mario Bertolone in 1930). The slab lay 80 cm below the surface together with Roman potsherds and tiles (Lattes & Nicodemi 1913: 420), lying on the long narrow side on which the inscription ends; a piece in the lower left area (where the inscription ends) was broken off already in ancient times, but the highly friable stone and surface were also damaged after the finding (remarks about the early treatment in Lattes & Nicodemi 1913, Rhŷs 1913 and Rhŷs 1914: 28, PID: 104 (no. 300), 630). Detailed description and discussion in Tibiletti Bruno 1969c (regarding the state of the object on p. 182, n. 1 and 2, 186, 188, n. 32; see also De Marinis 2009e: 686 f.). Casts which were made soon after the discovery and reflect a considerably better state of preservation than the original today are kept in the Museo della Società Gallaratese di Studi Patri (Gallarate) and in the Museo Archeologico "Paolo Giovio" (Como). With regard to the Roman associated finds, it may be concluded that the stela was found in a secondary context (pace Piana Agostinetti 2004‎: 207; see De Marinis 2009e: 684 f. with a survey of possible original sites in the vicinity). A Roman villa was found near the site; the stela may have been regarded and displayed as an antiquity already in Roman times. Morandi 2017: 366 assumes that it was reused to cover another grave.

Dating to the beginning of the 5th century BC at the latest following De Marinis & Motta 1991: 217, based on the typology of the frame and the observation that the area of Sesto Calende-Golasecca-Castelletto Ticino went into decline after Golasecca II.

Corinna Salomon


Banchieri 2003 Daria Giuseppina Banchieri, Antiche testimonianze del territorio varesino, Azzate: 2003.
De Marinis & Motta 1991 Raffaele C. De Marinis, Filippo Motta, "Una nuova iscrizione lepontica su pietra da Mezzovico (Lugano)", Sibrium 21 (1990–1991), 201–225.
De Marinis 2009e Raffaele C. de Marinis, "La stele di Vergiate", in: Raffaele C. de Marinis, Serena Massa, Maddalena Pizzo (eds), Alle origini di Varese e del suo territorio. Le collezioni del sistema archeologico provinciale [= Bibliotheca Archaeologica 44], Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider 2009, 684–692.
Gambari & Colonna 1988 Filippo Maria Gambari, Giovanni Colonna, "Il bicchiere con iscrizione arcaica da Castelletto Ticino e l'adozione della scrittura nell'Italia nord-occidentale", Studi Etruschi 54 (1986 [1988]), 119–164.
Giussani 1914 Antonio Giussani, "Le Iscrizioni Nord-Etrusche di Vergiate e di Banco", Rivista Archeologica della Provincia di Como 67-69 (1914), 47-60.