Altar dating back to the Roman Era

Ara di epoca romana posta nella parte occidentale del giardino della villa (Fototeca ISAL)
Ara di epoca romana posta nella parte occidentale del giardino della villa (Fototeca ISAL)

In the western part of the garden adjacent to Villa Cusani Tittoni Traversi one can still admire today a small Roman altar in gneiss serizzo stone, tracing back to the first century AD.

Though it is not well preserved, the altar presents a decoration with dual protruding cornice and at the upper end, two lateral flutes. Even if the piece is not whole, it bears an inscription of three lines, saying “Il liberto Aminta a diritto scioglie volentieri il voto alle Matrone.” It is thus related to an offering in fulfillment of a vow to the Matron, a pre-Roman goddess, probably of Celtic lineage, connected to the natural cycles and water. The cult of the matron was a popular and widely diffused devotion in the rural areas, as underlined by the humble conditions of the dedicator: Aminta, a name of Greek origin, a freed slave. This ancient Roman artifact is the only one remaining in the park, among the many archeological finds that composed the epigraphic collection of the Cusani family which, through abbot Carlo Amoretti, from 1801 onwards collected, gathered and at times arranged in their estate in Desio. A part of this were later embedded by Pelagio Palagi into the walls of the neo-Gothic tower he designed in the garden in the first decade of the 19th century for Giovanni Traversi. Many of these works were acquired in the ‘60s by the Municipality of Milan that placed them in the Civic Collection of the Sforzesco Castle, where they are still kept today.
Despite the location of the altar, it is evident that this is not an archeological find that came about in the Desio area, since it was bought by the Tittoni nobles, who were well aware that it was a work discovered in Galliano.