The Etruscans

Volterra
Volterra
Volterra
Volterra
Orvieto Cathedral
Orvieto Cathedral
Tarquinia
Tarquinia
Porta all'Arco, Volterra
Porta all'Arco, Volterra
Etruscan tombs, Cerveteri
Etruscan tombs, Cerveteri
Etruscan tombs, Cerveteri
Etruscan tombs, Cerveteri
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Florence Cathedral
Florence Cathedral
Etruscan Necropolis, Populonia
Etruscan Necropolis, Populonia
Chiusi
Chiusi

Before the rise of Rome, the Etruscans dominated much of central Italy. At the height of their power and prosperity during the 6th century BC, Etruscan influence penetrated south into the Bay of Naples and north into the Po valley. In their heartland of the Tuscan hills and seacoast mighty cities, Tarquinia, Cerveterii, Oriveto, Chiusi and others forged a league which dominated and traded with the other italic peoples, Greek colonists and Phoenician traders.

Their great cities are today either abandoned, or lost beneath the iconic medieval and renaissance towns of central Italy. But the great necropoleis, the veritable cities of the dead that the Etruscans laid out and full of monumental tumuli, house tombs and rock cut chamber tombs. Here is the source of the fantastic artefacts with which the wealthy surrounded themselves, Greek vases, Phoenician gold and glass, cunningly crafted terracotta’s, chariots and the cast bronze sculptures which were the Etruscan’s speciality.
Our guide introduces hilltop cities, spectacular finds and lavish painted tombs. This is a fascinating and alternative view of Classical Italy.

• Admire collections of Etruscan art & artefacts in some of Italy’s greatest museums
• Explore the hilltop fortress city of Orvieto and its cathedral, a masterpiece of medieval architecture
• Tread the mazy funerary roads of Cerveterii and wander among the great chamber tombs
• A chance to see the painted tombs of Tarquinia, the largest pre-Roman fresco cycle in western art
• The evocative countryside of Tuscany and southern Etruria.

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Pisa.

Day 2

We spend our first day in Volterra, located on windswept, dramatic hills. Here we visit the Guarnacci Museum, famed for its cinerary urns carved from the local alabaster. After lunch, we walk through the town viewing Etruscan temple foundations, an Etruscan city gate, the Porta all’Arco, a well-preserved Roman theatre.

Day 3

Today we explore Vetulonia, an Etruscan city site located on a hilltop with views to the Tyrrhenian Sea. We travel to the little-visited tombs, and see a rare example of Etruscan domestic architecture, before viewing finds from the site in the well-furnished museum. After a picnic lunch we continue to the coastal site of Populonia this afternoon.

Day 4

We spend the day at Chiusi, the key inland city of northern Etruria. The collections in the excellent museum are drawn from the area, and include finely carved cinerary chests and tomb markers in local sandstone.

This afternoon we have special access to some of the characteristic Etruscan painted tombs including the Tomb of the Lion and the Pellegrina Tomb. The interiors of both are vividly decorated with scenes of animals and humans.

Day 5

We visit Veii this morning. The site was at the southern limit of Etruscan territory, and Rome’s first Etruscan conquest. We explore the remains of the Portonaccio Temple, dedicated to Apollo. This afternoon, we visit the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, which houses one of the world’s best collections of Etruscan art and artefacts including the masterpiece Apollo of Veii from Portonaccio Temple.

Day 6

We visit Tarquinia to see the archaeological museum and exquisitely painted subterranean chamber tombs. The museum has a fine collection of grave goods, including the remarkable terracotta winged horses from the Ara della Regina Temple. Over 6000 tombs have been discovered at the Monterozzi cemetery, which we visit next, making this one of the largest burial grounds of the ancient world. We see a selection, with depictions of banquets and funerary games.

Day 7

Today we have an opportunity to explore Orvieto, which the Etruscans presumably established because of the excellent defensive opportunities offered by the spectacular volcanic citadel. There is much to see in the town including two archaeological museums, ‘underground Orvieto’, and the magnificent Renaissance cathedral. After lunch we visit the Belvedere Temple Podium, and the small Etruscan cemetery of Crocifisso del Tufo, where family names are carved above the entrance to each tomb.

Day 8

Our tour culminates at the remarkable Banditaccia cemetery at Cerveteri, a truly extraordinary Etruscan site. This is a real ‘city of the dead’ with rock-cut tombs under tumuli or arranged in rows along streets. Many interiors are carved to imitate houses and temples. One tomb even has painted relief depictions of armour, household goods, furniture, and the family dog. Transfer to Rome airport for our flight home.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We leave London and upon arrival in Pisa, transfer to our hotel.

Day 2

We spend our first day in Volterra located on windswept, dramatic hills. Here we visit the Guarnacci Museum, famed for its cinerary urns carved from the local alabaster. After lunch, we walk through the town viewing Etruscan temple foundations, the ancient city gate, the Porta all’Arco and a well-preserved Roman theatre.

Day 3

This morning we drive to Florence, where we will visit the Archaeological Museum before lunch. The afternoon is free to explore or you can join our tour staff who will be exploring the Roman theatre.

Day 4

We spend the day at Chiusi, the key inland city of northern Etruria. The collections in the excellent museum are drawn from the area, and include finely carved cinerary chests and tomb markers in local sandstone.

This afternoon we have special access to some of the characteristic Etruscan painted tombs including the Tomb of the Lion and the Pellegrina Tomb. The interiors of both are vividly decorated with scenes of animals and humans.

Day 5

We visit Veii this morning. The site was at the southern limit of Etruscan territory, and Rome’s first Etruscan conquest. We explore the remains of the Portonaccio Temple, dedicated to Apollo. This afternoon, we visit the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, which houses one of the world’s best collections of Etruscan art and artefacts including the masterpiece Apollo of Veii from Portonaccio Temple.

Day 6

We visit Tarquinia to see the Archaeological Museum and exquisitely painted subterranean chamber tombs. The museum has a fine collection of grave goods, including the remarkable terracotta winged horses from the Ara della Regina Temple. Over 6000 tombs have been discovered at the Monterozzi cemetery, which we visit next, making this one of the largest burial grounds of the ancient world. We see a selection, with depictions of banquets and funerary games.

Day 7

Today we have an opportunity to explore Orvieto, which the Etruscans presumably established because of the excellent defensive opportunities offered by the spectacular volcanic citadel. There is much to see in the town including two archaeological museums, ‘underground Orvieto’, and the magnificent Renaissance cathedral. After lunch we visit the Belvedere Temple Podium, and the small Etruscan cemetery of Crocifisso del Tufo, where family names are carved above the entrance to each tomb.

Day 8

Our tour culminates at the remarkable Banditaccia cemetery at Cerveteri, a truly extraordinary Etruscan site. This is a real ‘city of the dead’ with rock-cut tombs under tumuli or arranged in rows along streets. Many interiors are carved to imitate houses and temples. One tomb even has painted relief depictions of armour, household goods, furniture, and the family dog. Later, we transfer to Rome Fiuimicino airport for our flight back to London.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

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2018 Tour Details

Sun 23rd September - Sun 30th September

Available

£2,395

inc.

sgl supp: £295

ETR18B

Led By: Dr Eleanor Betts

2019 Tour Details

Sun 7th April - Sun 14th April

Available

£2,350

inc.

sgl supp: £495

ETR19A

Led By: Dr Eireann Marshall

Mon 16th September - Mon 23rd September

Available

£2,350

inc.

sgl supp: £495

ETR19B

Led By: Oliver Gilkes

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