The Etruscan city of Cerveteri, named Ceizra by the Etruscans themselves and Caere by the Romans, was after Tarquinia the most important city of the Southern Dodecapolis (that is: the Confederation of 12 Etruscan cities). The ancient settlement, a flourishing hut village since the Early Villanovian Age, stretched over a large tufaceous plateau unfortunately today intensely urbanized. On the contrary, a miraculously intact and very suggestive landscape is still nowadays offered us by the wonderful Banditaccia Necropolis, extending in the shade of secular pines and oaks. Most of the Etruscan burial chambers are covered and protected by a mound: usually a large circular basement carved in the rock or built in blocks of tufa, topped by a ground cover. Inside the burial chambers the structure and home furnishings such as chairs and beds, doors, columns, wooden beams and wall decorations are accurately reproduced. The Necropolis counts about 400 monumental tombs dating from the 8th to the 1st Century B.C. Among the most important ones, you are going to visit the wonderful Tomba dei Rilievi, decorated with polychrome stucco representing pets and everyday tools, crockery and weapons.
We can’t miss the Tomba dei Capitelli (late 6th Century B.C.), entirely carved into the tufa and perfectly preserved, with its dromos (entrance hallway) leading to a wide hall with columns and three small burial chambers opposite the entrance, reserved for the most important members of the family.
Tarquinia (in Etruscan
Tarchna), was the most important Etruscan settlement belonging to the Tyrrhenian Dodecapolis. The oldest settlement, flourishing since the Villanovian Phase (between the 9th and 8th Century B.C.) extended over a vast calcareous plateau which is known nowadays as Pian di Civita. The 2-hours guided tour to the Monterozzi Necropolis, extending over the hill parallel to the ancient settlement, is very suggestive. The underground burial chambers are decorated with well preserved magnificent paintings and constitute a unique in the context of pre-Roman funerary painting. The Etruscan Necropolis counts about 200 painted burial chambers covering a long historical period from the 7th to the 1st Century B.C. Among the most important ones, you’ll visit the Tomba dei Leopardi decorated with frescoes representing dancing and banquet aristocrats. You can’t miss visiting the most famous painted monuments as the Tomba della Caccia e Pesca, excavated in the calcareous plateau, with its long entrance hallway called “dromos” and two small axial burial chambers, of which the second one shows the famous scene of hunting and fishing along a sea cliff. The Tomba dei Giocolieri and the Tomba Cardarelli prove us the existence in the 6th Century B.C. of an Etruscan artistic workshop imitating the contemporary Greek Painting.