Founded in 1889 at the splendid Villa Giulia, this collection charts the development of the sophisticated, mysterious Etruscans.
Founded in 1889 at the splendid Villa Giulia, this collection charts the development of the sophisticated, mysterious Etruscans. The villa was originally constructed in the mid 16th century as a sumptuous summer residence for Pope Julius III; Michelangelo gave his friend Vignola a hand with the design. The rustic façade leads into an elegantly frescoed loggia. Across the courtyard, stairs go down to the nymphaeum. In the main body of the museum, a number of rooms are dedicated to objects found at the Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri; the centrepiece is the almost lifesize terracotta sarcophagus. Dating from the sixth century BC, it shows a married couple as if they are reclining at a dinner party (or indeed their own funerary banquet). The Etruscan fondness for eating and drinking is apparent from the vast number of bronze cooking utensils, as well as ceramic cups and amphorae (often decorated with scenes from imported Greek myths). The Room of the Seven Hills (a frescoed frieze names them) contains the Castellani collection of extraordinarily delicate jewellery from the eighth century BC right up to the 19th century. Next door is the Room of Venus, with pieces unearthed at the fifth-century BC temples of Pyrgi. The Etruscans went well prepared to their graves, and the majority of the collection comes from excavations of tombs: hundreds of vases, pieces of furniture and models of buildings made to accompany the dead. Detailed notes in English explain the excavation sites and provide information on how gold, bronze and clay were worked in times gone by. The last room before one exits contains one of the museum’s absolute masterpieces, the delicate terracotta sixth century BC Apollo of Veio. In the gardens there is a reconstruction of an Etruscan temple, and a pleasant café which is sadly only open sporadically.
|Venue name:||Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia|
Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9
00196 Roma RM
|Opening hours:||8.30am-7.30pm Tue-Sun.|
|Transport:||Tram 2 or Tram 19|