Find out the tour of the Etruscan Necropolis “Banditaccia”, in Cerveteri, one of the most monumental city of dead of the ancient world!
The tour of the Estruscan Necropolis “Banditaccia”, in Cerveteri (a small town near Rome), is a must-see around Rome tour.
The “Banditaccia” is the biggest city of the dead of Etruria, in fact, one of the most monumental of the ancient world and, since 2004, on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The ancient city of Ceisra – Chaire or Agylla in ancient Greek, Caere in Latin – was the main commercial maritime centre of Etruria. Like all Etruscan cities, it was built, for defensive reasons, on a tufa plateau at a distance of about 6 km from the sea and was served by three major ports: Pyrgi (Santa Severa), Alsium (Palo Laziale) and Punicum (Santa Marinella). It reached its peak in the 7th century BC, during the Orientalizing period (which connected Etruscan art with eastern Mediterranean culture) when, thanks to shrewd exploitation of environmental resources and the intensity of trading conducted throughout the Mediterranean basin, the small circle of families that dominated the city gained more and more power and wealth: this is testified by the rich funerary objects, which include exotic imported objects, and the monumental funerary architecture of the time.
Our tour of the “Banditaccia” necropolis will focus on the great importance given by the Etruscan people to the afterlife, which they consider to be an extension of the life on Earth. Thanks to the very good state of preservation of the necropolis, we will able to visit many examples of burial evidence: we will start off our tour with the oldest burial evidence, dating from the Villanovan period (9th-8th century BC) when the Etruscans were warrior-farmers and the funerary ritual was mostly cremation.
Then, we will continue our visit to the “Banditaccia” moving to the tombs of the Orientalizing Period (8th-6yh century BC), when the necropolis received an early urban organization. The most significant examples of the tombs of this period are the Tomb of the Hut, the Tumulus of Maroi, and the Tumulus of Mengarelli.
The visit will continue, following an ascending chronological order, with the Archaic period (6th-4th century BC): we will see how the city of the dead reflected the social changes which taked place within the community, with the born of a new, more egalitarian, social “middle” class emerges. By this time the structures of the tombs are more leveled and less sophisticated. Examples of tombs from the first stage of this period are the Tomb of the Greek Vases, the Tomb of the Cottage, and the Tomb of the Cornice.
At the end of the guided tour, we could see the burial evidence of the Hellenistic period (4th-1st century BC), while the Etruscan civilization was declining: the chamber of the tomb is now divided into several levels, also because of lack of underground space. However, we could visit some splendid tombs of powerful families, evidence for which is provided by the huge Tomb of the Reliefs, which was intended to accommodate many members of the Matuna family.