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Cerveteri and Tarquinia’s Etruscan tombs, an hour from Rome, are UNESCO heritage sites

Monday, 09 May 2022 11:09

The Etruscan sites in Cerveteri and Tarquinia, around an hour from Rome, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004 and were the first example of Etruscan civilization sites included in the world ranking.

Prime examples of Etruscan funerary architecture

The necropolis of Banditaccia in Cerveteri, and that of Monterozzi in Tarquinia are unique testimonies of Etruscan funerary practices. In Cerveteri thanks to the variety of tombs you can follow the development of Etruscan funerary architecture, while in Tarquinia, the painted tombs are the most precious series of pictorial documents preserved not only in the historical Etruscan Etruria region, but throughout the classical world. 

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1st-century remains of an ancient civilization

The symbol of Banditaccia is the Tomb of the Reliefs with its very fine decorations. It is in the burial chamber and depicts objects that were used in everyday life at the time. Inside there are several sectors, which reflect the different nuclei in which the necropolis must have been divided up to the 1st century B.C. Particularly striking are the imposing circular mounds with a hemispherical earthen cap, the so-called Cube Tombs and the great noble hypogea.

The Mediterranean’s most important necropolis

The extraordinary series of painted tombs in Tarquinia are the most prestigious part of the necropolis which is the most important of its kind in the Mediterranean. The practice of decorating the tombs of aristocratic families with paintings is also documented in other sites in Etruria, but only in Tarquinia does the phenomenon have these major dimensions. In the necropolis sector currently open to the public it is possible to admire some of the most famous of these ancient paintings.

A mysterious period of ancient history

Today the Etruscans still represent one of the most fascinating, mysterious and complex pages of the evolutionary path of the Mediterranean basin. Their great sense of devotion and respect for the dead is testified in the extraordinary funerary sites which, with their urban structure represent a unique and exceptional testimony of this ancient civilization.

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