Saturday, November 7, 2020


Altitude 81 m (265 feet). 32,000 inhabitants

Etruscan Kysry, Greek Agylla, Roman Caere

It dates back to the ninth century BC

The name comes from Caere Vetus, old Caere

In May the Ludi Ceretani take place, an evocation of the ancient Etruscan games

Palazzo Ruspoli

Ruspoli Palace

Built in 1533 for the Orsini family

It houses the MUSEO ORNITOLOGICO (Ornithological Museum) with 300 specimens collected in the years 1887/1948

S. Maria Maggiore

St. Mary Major

Romanesque church of the twelfth century

It has become since 1951 almost the transept of the larger current church

It is also known as S. Felice Papa, St. Felix Pope


"Madonna and Child with Sts. Michael and Peter" 1472 by Lorenzo da Viterbo (about 1444/72)

Rocca Ruspoli

Ruspoli Fortress

Fortress of the thirteenth century donated by the Ruspoli family to the Italian state in memory of Princess Claudia

It is the seat of the Town Hall of Cerveteri

Triptych "Adoration of the Magi" 1500s by unknown artists of the Flemish school

"St. Blaise" by Pietro Bonaccorsi aka Perin del Vaga (1501/47)

Museo Nazionale Cerite

National Museum of Caere

It opened in 1967

Here are objects found during the excavations of the necropolis of Cerveteri and of its surroundings

First Room

Objects dating back to the period when the Villanovian civilization was thriving in the area of the city, with burial kits from the Tombs of Sorbo

"Small urn with a married couple eating on the lid", draft copy of the most well-known sarcophagus stored at the National Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia

"Mixing bowl" by the Painter of Eptacordo, an artist working in Caere in the early decades of the seventh century BC

Painted ceramics imported from Corinth and Cumae such as the ones from the Grave 2 of Casaletti of Ceri

Amphorae used for transporting goods and tableware ceramic imported from Greece, such as the ones from Monte Abatone

"Youth sprawled" from the Grave 92 of Bufaloreccia

Kits from the rich Grave 170 for women with barrel, stool and sandals

Second Room

"Sarcophagi of the Hellenistic period" from the Tomb of the Tasmie and the Tomb of the Sarcophagi, both located outside the fence of the Banditaccia Necropolis, in the area known as Tombe del Comune (Tombs of the City)

Series of clay slabs painted from the so-called Temple of Hera

Beautiful "Statue of Charon" with lions and sphinxes from the Sant'Angelo Necropolis

At the side of the room opposite the entrance, there are several votive anatomical objects and some architectural terracotta pieces used during religious ceremonies

Necropoli della Banditaccia

Banditaccia Necropolis

Set on a high tufa stone hill northwest of Cerveteri

Total area of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) with many thousands of graves

The area that can be visited inside the fence it is only 10 hectares (24 acres) in size and there are about 400 graves from the earliest period, the so called Villanovian period (ninth century BC) to the most "recent" of the Etruscan period (third century BC)

The oldest core of Villanovian tombs is in the area known as Cava della Pozzolana

The name "Banditaccia" (the biddable) derives from the fact that from the late nineteenth century the area was auctioned rented by the local landowners of Cerveteri in favor of the local population

It is the largest ancient necropolis in the whole Mediterranean area

Since July 2004, it is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites

Villanovian burials (from the ninth until the eighth century BC) are shaped as small wells where the ashes of the deceased were kept, or are underground tombs for inhumation

From the seventh century BC onwards, in the Etruscan period, there are two types of burials:

SEPOLTURE A DADO (Tombs shaped as square rooms)

These kind of tombs consist of a long line of tombs along burial streets. Two of these streets are the so called Via dei Monti Ceriti (Cerae Mountains Road) and Via dei Monti della Tolfa (Tolfa Mountains Road) of the sixth century BC

SEPOLTURE A TUMULO (Burial mounds)

These kind of tombs have a tuffaceous circular structure which contains a representation of the house of the deceased, with corridor (dromos) to access the various rooms. Beds covered with a sloping roof on one of the short sides indicate female burials

The details of the interior of these tombs have allowed scholars to find out precious information about habits in Etruscan households

Area inside the fence

Archaic Area

Five jars of tufa (ziri) and tombs of the early Iron Age (ninth/eight century BC)

Tomb of the Capitals (1)

End of the seventh century or early sixth century BC

Completely dug out of tufa with vestibule and two small side rooms plus a central rectangular hall leading to three more rooms

“Eolic capitals" probably inspired or made by Greek peoples from Cyprus

Tombs of the late period

Long wall in tufa stone with tombs of the period of decadence (fourth/third century BC) characterized by the presence of cippiera, containers for headstones probably functional to indicate the sex of the deceased inside: column if male, cabin if female

Burial Mound II

60 m (200 feet) in diameter with four tombs from different periods:


Early seventh century BC (Orientalizing period), found in the nineteenth century already violated. It is among the first fully excavated in tufa stone

The interior imitates the appearance of the oldest dwelling houses with gabled ceiling (stramineo) in imitation of the roof of a hut


Second half of the seventh century BC

The name comes from the eleven dolii (big vases for oil) found here. The plan has clear similarities with that of the so-called Pompeian house: the main room with a gabled ceiling is preceded by a small courtyard which gives access to two rooms on the sides of and it is followed by a room which is also covered by a double sloping roof

In the room to the right (known as of the Alari) of the dromos (corridor) an undamaged kit with pots of Greek-eastern import was found, now in the National Etruscan Museum in Villa Giulia. They are made out of Egyptian maiolica: one is a female figure, the other in the shape of a friendly baboon carrying the right hand to his mouth


Second half of the sixth century BC

Here was found an exceptional series of Attic pottery with black and red figures now at Villa Giulia


Mid-sixth century BC

Dromos (corridor) with two side small rooms, central chamber with beds and bedroom in the back with benches

Street of Hell or Street of the Tombs

Long stretches of furrows dug by chariots

Burial Mound I

Late seventh century BC, also known as Mound of the Sarcophagi. Two tombs of ancient and recent orientalising style:


Second half of the fourth century BC

It belonged to the Matunas family, as it is possible to read in the inscriptions of the headstone for the men of the family at the center of the tomb

Formerly known as Tomba degli Stucchi (Tomb of the Stuccos) or Tomba Bella (Beautiful Tomb), with entrance originally flanked by two funerary lions of which remains only a damaged one

The huge oak tree is about 400 years old

There are frescoes on the walls and columns representing everyday objects: on the left objects of male use, on the right of female use. In the center of the lower part Cerberus and Charon. Dock with space for 31 holes for tombs and 13 niches in the walls for urns


Early sixth century BC

Cella divided in thre sections with windows between the doors of the back wall. Projecting cornice on the walls, two thirds of the height

Tomb of the Small House (9)

Early sixth century BC

It was fully excavated in a large trapezoidal tuffaceous boulder. Rooms shaped as a cross with arched doors and windows

Sepolcri a dado di Via dei Monti della Tolfa e Via dei Monti Ceriti

Mid-sixth century BC, almost entirely rebuilt

Model of regular urban planning similar to the planning of actual cities

Maroi Burial Mound

Second half of the seventh century BC, named after the Maroi Countess who subsidized the excavation

Three tombs, one of which, the "Maroi 2", was rebuilt with the original kit at Villa Giulia, where there is also part of the kit of the  "Maroi 3". The "Maroi 1" tomb is open to the public

Polychrome Burial Mound (11)

Sixth century BC

Polychrome exterior with blocks of reddish tuff as well as white stone and lava. There are also polychrome traces inside with red bands on ceiling and walls

Mengarelli Burial Mound

Second half of the seventh century BC

One off tomb with very complex plan. There used to be paintings in orientalizing style in the vestibule representing animals and vegetables

Mound of the Colonel

Early seventh century BC

Four tombs of several periods such as the ones in the Burial Mound II, the oldest of which has a room with a ceiling imitating the structure of a hut. The kits of tombs 2 and 4 are at Villa Giulia

Tomb of Marce Ursus (10)

End VI/early fifth century BC

It is included in a complex of two twin tombs, partly excavated and partly built with square blocks of tufa. On the back wall of the right room there is an inscription with the name of the owner of the tomb

Area outside the fence (North)


IV/III century BC

Five noble tombs of the Hellenistic period similar in structure and interior layout to the Tomb of the Reliefs. Located in a dedicated area just west of the fence

Among them the TOMB OF THE TARQUINI, also known as the Tomb of the Inscriptions, is remarkable: it is a tomb on two levels in which about 50 inscriptions were found proving its use for several generations


It echoes the type of internal furnishing with chairs and stools. Here there are, in fact, five chairs on which there were five statues to welcome the dead in the afterlife attending a banquet with them


Fourth century BC, with a single square chamber



Area outside the fence (South)


Six beds with pillows carved into the tuff that were used for the deposition of the bodies of men, since women were placed in sarcophagi. Also two chairs in rows with stools on which were placed two statues in terracotta









Bufaloreccia Hill

Almost 200 tombs found largely intact in the years 1950/60 by the Lerici Foundations and later covered up again

They were built as pits and as rooms, mostly orientalizing and archaic, along with others dating back to the Hellenistic period

Among these, the TOMB OF THE WOLF’S TEETH of end of the seventh century BC, shaped as a rectangular room with painted patterned decoration

Necropolis of Sorbo

South of Cerveteri. Archaic burial ground with individual graves for cremation and inhumation but also with burial mounds

In one of these there is the REGOLINI-GALASSI TOMB famous for the orientalizing furniture of the seventh century BC now the Gregorian Etruscan Museum in the Vatican




Necropolis of Monte Abatone

Tombs dating back from the last quarter of the eight century BC until the Hellenistic period

Hundreds of tombs were identified and then buried again in the plateau covered with pastures

CAMPANA TOMB with ceiling imitating a semicircular roof and reproduction of two pieces of wooden furniture

TOMB OF THE CHAIRS with small throne carved into the stone

TORLONIA TOMB two-story with complex architectural structure

MARTINI-MARESCOTTI TOMB with transversal atrium and two rooms where an exceptional kit was found, now at Villa Giulia with vases attributed to Oltos and to the Painter of Priam

Necropolis of Ripa S. Angelo

Open underground corridors for tombs on different levels, along the vertical rock walls, with fake architectural façades

TOMB OF THE CHARONS where was the statue of Charon now in the National Museum of Caere was found

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