A Vacation to teach History
Mel, one of the most beautiful historic centres of the province of Belluno, proposes a rich and important history: the early Veneti, the Gauls with the testimony of some placenames such as Conzago and Tiago (two suburbs of Mel), then the Romans whose traces emerge from tombstones, inscrptions, coins, milestones and roads such as the Claudia Augusta Altinate, whose traces are still visible in Praderadego; then the Longobards; an example of their domination is the church of Saint Donato. In Mel a Paleovenetian settlement came to light at about one kilometre from the centre, in Tempietto Street; there, after a serie of excavations,a burial ground was brought to light; it contains about sixty tombs arranged in some enclosures, called circles. You cannot think of Mel, without thinking of the Castle of Zumelle "born to be a military garrison and also an important political stronghold; the attentions, the aspirations, the contrasts, the disputes, the distructions and the re-construction are its witnesses".
Mel rises on a hill near the river Piave, sacred to the Country, once fortified and protected by a big castle. Today the perimeter can be recognised in the palaces that contain the main square, in the centre of which there is an ancient pole, dated 1520; there were also three entrance doors, but now you can see just one. In the main square there are wonderful palaces, once seat of the local nobility; there is an imposing, baroque, eighteen-century Archpriest Church, which is particular because it does not have the bell tower, collapsed for a fire in the eighteen century and never built again.
Near this main church, there is the older one dedicated to the Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrow), that keeps fifteen/sixteen-century paintings. The today's structure is only the apsidal part of the old church, destroyed by the collapse of the tower bell. On the North side there is a small tower used as tower bell.
In the Palazzo delle Contesse (The Countesses' Palace) there is the Civic Archaeological Museum, which contains the tomb outfits coming from the Paleovenetian Necropolis situated in the lower part of the town. This Necropolis is one of the most interesting of the Iron Age. The Museum contains pottery and bronze urns, personal decorative objects such as vessels, rings, bracelets, brooches, belts with decorated hooks, fibulae and everyday objects such as knives, drifts, whorls, and needles for spinning.