Monday, October 16, 2017

Chiusi National Etruscan Museum and Tombs

The origins of Chiusi date back to 1000 B.C. and was one of most powerful cities of the Etruscan federation. Perched high on a hill, Chiusi occupied a strategic position overlooking the Val di Chiana and still preserves remarkable Etruscan and Roman remains, making it an important archaeological centre for both Italy and the world. With one of the finest collections of Etruscan artifacts outside of Rome, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi is a treasure of great significance for the town and surrounding area once known as Etruria. Many Etruscan tombs and settlements have been discovered over the years, which contain well-preserved items now displayed in the museo. Established in 1871, the museum moved to its current Neoclassical building in 1901, where many rare and precious finds are displayed, crossing the entire development of the Etruscan civilization from the Bronze Age to the Villanonova culture, Lombard and Roman eras. Great attention has been given to the preservation and conservation of the displayed materials, most of which came from private collections during the 19th and 20th centuries and from archaeological excavations. One of the most important museums in its field, the National Archaeological Museum of Chiusi is considered a singular point of reference for archaeologists, historians and lovers of antiquities alike. Typical characteristics of the Etruscan civilization around Chiusi are represented by canopics on a throne, laminated bronzes, buccheros with “cilindretto” and imprinted decorations, statues and reliefs made of sulphurous stone as well as sarcophagi and urns made of clay and alabaster, used as burial vessels for millennia. Time permitting, it's great to sign up to visit the Etruscan tombs with a guide, which is included in the admission price of the museum, as they are located less than a mile outside the city walls, and well worth the effort.

Original catalogue of the Etruscan Museo Chiusino from 1832 documented each item in the museum

Pienza cinerary urn from 700 BC

Oinochoe (wine jug) from 700 BC

Etruscan canopic urn on a throne from Dolciano, made of bronze and earthenware 
from the second half of the 7th century BC

Mosaic of a wild boar hunt from a Roman villa from 1st century BC

Marble female head with a diadem from the Augustan age, about 43 BC to 18 AD

Lion head waterspout from the 2nd century BC

Etruscan canopic urn: clay ossuaries typical of the Chiusi area, are humanized vessels containing the ashes of a deceased, from the 7th century

Bronze buttons, razor and fine chain from the 8th century

Sculpture of Giovanni Paolozzi who donated his entire collection of excavated treasures which fundamentally forms the core of the museum

Paolozzi's personal notebook documents each of his excavated treasures

Pigeons having a bath in the park fountain across from the museum

One of Tuscany’s oldest churches and across from the Museum, the Chiusi cathedral dates to the 6th century, although it has been expanded and renovated over the centuries

The central nave and the apse were painted, imitating the mosaic visual effect, by Arturo Viligiardi from Siena at the end of the 19th century, inspired by the mosaics of Ravenna

View the beautiful Val di Chiana from the hilltop of Chiusi

Discovered during road works in 1928, the Pellegrina Tomb was dug from natural sandstone and consists of a long corridor with 4 small burial recesses and three chambers - a typical layout for Etruscan tombs 

The Pellegrina Tomb was in use during the 3rd and 2nd century B.C. by the Etruscan Sentinates family

Anyone can sign up to visit the Etruscan tombs with a guide, which is included in the Museum ticket price, however we explored on our own

Avenue of cypress leading up to a private villa outside of Chiusi

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