Nicoletta Frapiccini Museo Archeologico Nazionale delle Marche,
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A surprise event for guests attending a wedding in Ancona: after the ceremony, a guided tour of the National Archaeological Museum of the Marche Region.

Frapiccini, N. 2017. A wedding with surprise: orange blossoms at the museum. Archeostorie Journal of Public Archaeology. 1: pp. 155-156. DOI:

CC BY 4.0 © The author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Times may have changed but one thing certainly hasn’t: a wedding day is always a special occasion, which the bride and groom wish to celebrate joyfully with their guests and to make it – somehow – unforgettable. So couples are increasingly choosing exceptional locations, often sumptuous historical villas which open the doors to their salons, where families and friends can be entertained in the heady  surroundings of art.

Our museum, housed in the sixteenth century Palazzo Ferretti, is a traditional location for newly-weds to come for the ritual wedding photographs: memorable shots portray them framed in the beautiful settings of the frescoed salons, the magnificent terrace that overlooks the harbour and the monumental Vanvitelli staircase.

We have recently been receiving requests to host receptions, including weddings, in this exceptionally fascinating and charming place. It was not unusual, therefore, to find myself answering the phone to a future bridegroom, who was seeking information about receptions at the Museum. But in this case young Massimiliano, at the other end of the line, really caught me by surprise with his request: namely that, following the afternoon marriage ceremony to be held nearby in the town hall – the ancient Palazzo degli Anziani – he and his bride would like to offer their guests a guided visit of the Museum.

I greeted this literally unheard-of request with as much incredulity as enthusiasm. Curiosity getting the better of me, I asked the reason for this choice. “We would like our guests to get to know this beautiful, if sadly little-known, area of ​​the city” – he replied – “especially so they can admire the museum and its exhibits, which tell the history of our region.” His reply was simple, spontaneous, just what I had hoped to hear; and made this young couple a valuable ally in our everyday work of promoting the Museum. I felt heartened and realized that even the Millennial generation, to which these two young people belong, (‘Generation Y’, those born between 1980 and 1995) has enlightened exceptions.

As always, museum staff rose commendably to the occasion, to accommodate these highly unusual guests: shifts were altered, to ensure the presence of the two guides needed for a visit of about seventy people, and a suitable itinerary was planned.

The event seemed to me sufficiently remarkable to report it to the local television channel TGR RAI-Marche, as newsworthy: “This is not just a news item, Nicoletta” – the chief editor Maurizio Blasi corrected me on the phone – “It’s an entire programme!”  So he immediately arranged a camera crew and journalist for the day of the wedding, to interview the couple and their guests.  One could possibly argue that something new is afoot if people not only appreciate the beauty of their surroundings, but also want to share their pleasure with those who are dear to them.

The momentous day, Saturday 5th March, finally arrived and we warmly welcomed the wedding procession into the museum; Massimiliano and Michela led in their friends and relatives (for whom this was a total surprise), and they all toured the Museum for a couple of hours.

As was to be expected, the group was very diverse. Many of the guests arrived from other cities of the Marche, some even from different regions; practically nobody had visited the museum before. From the Venus of Frasassi, a priceless idol dating from 20,000 years ago, to the gold crowns of the Celtic necropolis of Montefortino di Arcevia; from the Attic pottery of Numana-Sirolo to the precious exhibits from the Hellenistic-Roman necropolis of Ancona, a lengthy journey through space and time unfolded, followed with great interest by the guests.

The visit was a great success and, finally, we too joined the guests in thanking the newly-married couple and wishing them every happiness for the future!