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Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri and Tarquinia

Nécropoles étrusques de Cerveteri et Tarquinia

The necropolis of Tarquinia and Cerveteri are an exceptional testimony of the Etruscan civilization, the only pre-Roman urban civilization in Italy. The everyday scenes depicted in the tombs and sepulchres that reproduce painted houses bring to light this lost culture. The necropolis of Cerveteri (Banditaccia) presents his first monumental tombs of the seventh century BC while the most ancient tombs are of the ninth century BC. The Etruscans, appeared in central Italy in the ninth century BC, but it is unknown the exact origin of this people, no human group with the same social and ethnic characteristics exist elsewhere in Europe or in Asia. The Etruscans spoke a non-Indo-European language, the origin of which is unknown. Both cemeteries have very different characteristics, which summarize the Etruscan funerary culture as a whole. The vast necropolis of Cerveteri, with thousands of tombs, are organized on the model of a city map with streets, squares and neighborhoods. The types of tombs differ greatly depending on the time and status of the family. The oldest are made from a pit in the tufa containing an ossuary, or terracotta, containing the ashes of the deceased. But the most characteristic are the mounds of earth where many tombs, accessible by a corridor (dromos) carved into the stone. One of the best known, the VII century BC, is the grave dug in the tuff of the cabin that accurately reproduces all the architectural elements of a real building: the thatched roof rests on a central beam, and benches run along its walls . This tombs are the best examples of Etruscan domestic architecture. Other tombs, which also reproduce the houses, have special characteristics: the Corniche tomb has two thrones with footstools, on both sides of his entry; the tomb of the Capitals faithfully reproduces the architecture of a roof. But the most famous among thousands of the Banditaccia tombs is the tomb of the Reliefs, of the IV century BC, which is accessed through a long corridor: this vast underground room based on two pillars topped by wind capitals, contains 13 niches double each with two pillows painted red, and specially equipped places for 34 other organism; The tomb walls are completely covered with stucco that reproduce more objects of daily or religious life, as well as weapons. The necropolis of Tarquinia is famous for its painted tombs, which were carved into the rocks and accessible by a sloping hallway or a scale. Most of them, organized for a couple of deceased persons, are constituted by a single burial chamber. The Tomb of the Lionesses, the VI century BC is a small room on the gable roof with his paintings of birds in flight, dolphin, and scenes of the Etruscan aristocracy life. The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing is composed of two rooms: the first is dancing scenes in a sacred grove and the owners of the tomb at the banquet, the second scenes of hunting and fishing.

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