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.