Museo dell’ Accademia Etrusca e città di Cortona

The Etruscan Academy Museum of the city of Cortona

MAEC’s history stretches back to 1727 when the Accademia Etrusca (Etruscan Academy) was founded; the academy’s statutory goals included the dissemination of historical and artistic culture through key-tools such as the Library and the Museum both of which were public right from the earliest stages; over the past three centuries the Museum has undergone extraordinary development all the way to its final re-arrangement in 2008 The museum currently consists of two main sections respectively devoted to the Accademia Etrusca and the Etruscan and Roman city of Cortona; the former section accommodates materials providing a unique testimony to the life and continuing efforts of the best known cultural institution in town; such materials range from the earliest bequests from academicians in the 1700 and 1800s to materials acquired over the centuries: the most valuable pieces – real “symbols” of the Cortonese culture – include the Etruscan bronze lamp, the so-called Musa Polimnia, a fine collection of Etruscan and Roman ceramics and bronzes as well as the Corbelli collection including materials from the Egyptian civilization; more recent materials include an imposing collection of art objects and furnishings formerly owned by the Tommasi-Baldelli family, one of the most prominent families in town, as well as a series of works by Cortona-born painter Gino Severini, one of the founders of Futurism, bequeathed to the town of Cortona by the Maestro himself. Other exhibits include archaeological finds from the city and its surroundings providing a link to the modern section devoted to the development of the latter.

After a first room providing an insight into local paleontology the subsequent rooms house orientalizing and archaic grave-goods from burials in the Valle Tiberina and the Valdichiana, at the edge of the Cortona sphere of influence, and, remarkably, valuable finds from Etruscan burials located in the close surroundings of Cortona, the so-called “Meloni” of Sodo and Camucia. An accurate reconstructive image is provided for all displayed finds including the well-known jewels found in the 1990s as well as sacred structures associated with the cult and burial of the dead. Particularly interesting is the display of grave-goods recently uncovered from a series of orientalizing circular burials affording a new and fascinating insight into the remotest Cortonese history. Significant testimony to the town’s great Hellenistic development is provided by a bronze tablet bearing one of the longest known inscriptions in the Etruscan language as well as by finds from suburban sanctuaries and monumental burials. The tour ends with exhibits from the Roman period (a period of extraordinary complexity and high-profile) including finds from the large Roman villa (currently under excavation) unearthed in Ossaia as well as from the vast network of roads connecting the major centres in ancient times. The tour then resumes, ensuring an ideal continuity with the lower section, with the medieval section housed on the upper floors devoted to the Accademia.



The Museo Archeologico is housed in the former Olivetan convent, founded in 1323, that was built directly over the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre: hence, the curios curved design.
Damages by bombs during the Second World War, in its modern re-systemisation it offers a picture of ancient history of the city and the territory.
The Crater of Euphronios, an Attic vase of the end of the 6th c. BC, is remarkable: it testified to the wealth and high cultural level reached during that age by the wealthy classes of the Arezzo area, who were in a position to appreciate and acquire a work realised by one of the greatest pottery decorators of the age. The crater is a capacious vase with a wide mouth, made for mixing wine and water in accordance with the Greek usage of the symposium: the presence of such a precious vase and one for such a specific use indicates that the practice of the symposium was present in the high society of the area, as an occasion of encounter and also as a stutus symbol.
Of great artistic quality and also linked to the symposium is the Attic amphora of the school of the Painter of Dinos from Casalta (end of the 5th c. BC). Together with the somewath older Attic stamnos of the Painter of Danae from Alberoro, it testifies to the continuing wealth of the land-owner classes of the fertile Valdichiana. It is very probable that these and other Attic products were imported through the Greco-Etruscan port of Spina, on the Po delta, and from there arrived overland in Arezzo across the Apennine passes.
The large disk inscribed in stone that can be seen in the following rooms constitutes an additional indication of the vitality of these activities: it comes from the Estruscan sanctuary of Pieve a Socana, in the Casentino, is datable to the 5th c. BC, and bears an Etruscan inscription that says it was offered by an exponent of a gens (family) the founder of which had himself called ”the Greek”.
Of great interest is the collection of Aretine ceramics, the so-called ”coralline”: a typical product of the city which, between the 1th century BC and 1th century AD, flooded the market of the entire Roman empire with clay vases that imitaded those made of metal (silver) in shape, relief decoration, polish and perhaps even sound.
In the display cabinets can be seen the punches and dies utilised for realising the mass-production of these items: industrial products, but of extraordinary refinement.
The fragments of Arezzo ceramics decorated in relief were sougth after by artists already in the Middle Ages, and Donatello probably had the idea of his stiacciato relief from them.
The Toga-clad Fifure (1th c. BC) also speaks of the Roman city. It decorated a monumental tomb recently discovered along Via Vittorio Veneto.
Lastly, a Chrysographic Male Portrait deserves careful examination: this is a miniature realised on very thin gold and silver foil, and sealed between two pieces of glass (third quarter of the 3nd c. AD).


Museo archeologico nazionale di Firenze

The National Archaeological Museum of Florence (Italian – Museo archeologico nazionale di Firenze) is an archaeological museum in Florence, Italy. It is located at 1 piazza Santissima Annunziata, in the Palazzo della Crocetta (a palace built in 1620 for princess Maria Maddalena de’ Medici, daughter of Ferdinand I de Medici, by Giulio Parigi). The museum was inaugurated in the presence of king Victor Emmanuel II in 1870 in the buildings of the Cenacolo di Fuligno on via Faenza. At that time it only comprised Etruscan and Roman remains. As the collections grew, a new site soon became necessary and in 1880 the museum was transferred to its present building.

The collection’s first foundations were the family collections of the Medici and Lorraine, with several transfers from the Uffizi up to 1890 (except the collections of marble sculpture which the Uffizi already possessed). The Egyptian section was first formed in the first half of the 18th century from part of the collections of Pierre Léopold de Toscane, from another part of an expedition promoted by the same Grand Duke in 1828–29 and led by Ippolito Rosellini and Champollion (the man who first deciphered hieroglyphics). In 1887 a new topographic museum on the Etruscans was added, but it was destroyed in the 1966 floods.

Chimera of Arezzo
The organisation of the Etruscan rooms was reconsidered and reordered in 2006. Also in 2006, the 40-year-overdue restoration was carried out on over 2000 objects damaged in the 1966 floods.

Gallery in the Egyptian collection
The huge collection of ancient ceramics is shown in a large room with numerous cases on the second floor. Generally the vases come from Etruscan tombs and are evidence of cultural and mercantile exchange with Greece, and particularly Athens (where most of the vases were made) and date to the period between the 4th century BC and the present.

The most important of the vases is a large black figure krater of c. 570 BC signed by the potter Ergotimos and the painter Kleitias. It is named the “François vase” after the archaeologist who found it in 1844 in an Etruscan tomb at fonte Rotella, on the Chiusi road, and shows a series of Greek mythological narratives on both sides. Other notable objects are the red figure hydria signed by the Meidias painter (550–540 BC) the cups by the Little Masters (560–540 BC), named after their miniaturist style of their figures the sculptures of Apollo and Apollino Milani (6th century BC, named after the man who gave them to the museum) the athlete’s torso (5th century BC) the large Hellenistic horse’s head (known as the Medici Riccardi head after the first place it was displayed, in the Medici’s Riccardi palace), fragment of an equestrian statue, which inspired Donatello and Verrocchio in two famous equestrian monuments in Padua and Venice. two Archaic marble kouroi, displayed in a corridor.



Volterra, known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri, to the Romans as Volaterrae, is a town and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy. The town was a Neolithic settlement and an important Etruscan center (Velathri or Felathri in Etruscan, Velàthre, Βελάθρη in Greek) with an original civilization. The site is believed to have been continuously inhabited as a city since at least the end of the 8th century BC. It became a municipium in the Roman Age. Built in the Augustan age thanks to the financing of two members of the Caecina family, as demonstrated by an epigraph found here, the Volterra theatre stands in a position that, in keeping with the precepts codified by Vitruvius, takes account of both the exposure to sunlight and the scenographic effect of the surrounding landscape. The cavea, in fact, has a northern exposure and exploits the natural contour of the hill to good advantage to attain excellent acoustics. The tiered steps of the theatre, following the slope of the hill, show a particular two-tone colour scheme, obtained by alternating the limestone of the seats with the dark lava stone of the access corridors. Still well preserved between the cavea and the proscenium is the channel that held the curtain (aulaeum) which in ancient theatres, unlike modern ones, was lowered at the beginning of the performance. Clearly visible also are the vaulted corridors that served to connect the stage to the external vestibules, and the two-storied scenae frons, originally tiled in marble and adorned with statues, today partially raised again thanks to a modern restoration initiative. Of the original sculptural decoration there remain two heads of Augustus and one of Livia, kept in the Guarnacci Museum. Especially interesting are the remains of the porticus post scaenam, a roofed area located behind the theatre, where the spectators gathered during intermissions.

Roman Theatre

Built in the Augustan age thanks to the financing of two members of the Caecina family, as demonstrated by an epigraph found here, the Volterra theatre stands in a position that, in keeping with the precepts codified by Vitruvius, takes account of both the exposure to sunlight and the scenographic effect of the surrounding landscape.

The Guarnacci museum

The Guarnacci museum, which originated as a private collection, has a very large number of small urns that are arranged on shelves that line every room.

Everyone loves Volterra right now thanks to New Moon, but before that, the Etruscans loved it thanks to its rich store of iron. The Guarnacci museum, which originated as a private collection, has a very large number of small urns that are arranged on shelves that line every room. This can get excessive, and the curators know it, so they came up with a most interesting museological solution for the upstairs (first floor). They covered the walls with green panels that allow you to see only select works; other pieces are set up in glass cases in the middle of the room. Most important works: This museum contains two important works in totally different styles. The Ombra della Sera is a tall bronze shadow figure with a young boy’s head; it may have been a fertility figure, thrust into the ground. The other piece to note is the terracotta funerary urn of a couple, Urna degli Sposi, that is highly detailed and doesn’t miss a wrinkle. The Romans in fact didn’t approve of the way that the Etruscans invited their wives to their drinking parties; the Etruscans were rather more egalitarian, as can be seen by this double funerary monument for a couple that has lived a long life together

Orvieto Archaeological Museum

Visiting the National Archaeological Museum in the Piazza del Duomo, as well as visiting the just as unmissable “Claudio Faina” Archaeological Museum, will establish an intriguing and useful contact with the social and cultural reality of what once was one of the most important and flourishing cities in Etruria. In fact, the Museum halls host admirable and valuable findings, grouped according to topography, that were brought to light during research activities in the necropolis and the sanctuaries of the territory surrounding Orvieto, as well as those that accidentally resurfaced during works carried out in the city.

Located on the ground floor of the Papal Palace, the Museum hosts materials of great interest coming from the necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo, Cannicella, Fontana del Leone, Settecamini, Porano. Particularly distinguished are precious Etruscan pottery items with red figures, a complete bronze armour composed of a helmet, a cuirass, a pair of greaves and a shield, and some collections of artefacts from graves, rich in findings both imported and locally produced, such as the buccheri.

Particularly inviting is the area where the two famous chamber-tombs have been rebuilt (the so-called “Golini 1” and “Golini 2”) which were discovered in 1863 by Domenico Golini in the Porano area; the original frescoes have been detached from the tombs for conservation purposes. The paintings describe the themes of funeral banqueting and the descent to the underworld and offers a rich and beautifully detailed interesting example of the Etruscan rituals.

The hall dedicated to the Cannicella necropolis is worth a visit, as it helps putting together the information on this area located on the southern slopes of Orvieto’s cliff. Starting from the second half of the sixth century, an important holy place was established in this area, which had been occupied by a necropolis in Archaic Ages, with street-grid characteristics similar to the Crocifisso del Tufo Necropolis; the holy place had a temple decorated with important terracotta ceramics and a series of related buildings, possibly needed for marginal purposes. In this case too, you can admire ceramic and bronze items discovered in tombs, many of which were found during the nineteenth century following extensive excavation campaigns.


The Tarquinia Necropolis has been described as “the first chapter in the history of great Italian painting ”for its exceptional painted tombs adorned with scenes of human life: huntsmen, fishermen, musicians, dancers, jugglers and athletes. Google maps photos current situation.

The National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia

This museum is housed in the splendour of palazzo Vitelleschi, which was built between 1436 and 1439 by Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi during the papacy of Eugene IV. The collection comprises material unearthed during excavation campaigns in the area of the ancient Etruscan city and its rich, extensive necropolises. These artefacts tell us about the lives of the Etruscans and about their conception of what happened to the deceased beyond the grave, as they believed in life after death. Of special note is a rich collection of Etruscan sarcophagi on the museum’s ground floor, together with the sector on the first floor devoted to its collections of Greek pottery, which includes several masterpieces, such as the kylix of Oltos, the vase of Charinos, the amphora of Phintias and the Berlin painter’s crater. The museum’s most priceless artefacts also include the celebrated highrelief of winged horses that used to adorn the pediment of the Altar of the Queen and has now become the symbol of the city of Tarquinia all over the world. There is also a room on the second floor that is quite unique in its field, dedicated to the illustrated tombs whose painted decorations were removed from their natural supports in the fifties of the last century for reasons of conservation.

Photos July 975 Praktika XP SLR, Agfa Slides, Google maps photos current situation.