The Archeological Park of Baratti and Populonia is a true open-air museum of Etruscan civilization overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is located in the municipality of Piombino and includes the remains of ancient Populonia, the only city built by the Etruscans on the sea.
The Necropolis of San Cerbone contains burials from various periods (7th to 5th centuries B.C.), ranging from tumulus graves - such as the monumental Tomba dei Carri (Grave of the Chariots), 28 meters wide - to aedicule graves, such as the Tomba del Bronzetto dell’Offerente (Grave of the Small Bronze Statue of the Offerer), located just off the beach.
Inside the monumental Grave of the Chariots you can also an evocative set-up in music, sounds and words: visitors are enveloped by the sound of various ancient instruments that, in progression, compose a melody until they arrive inside the burial chamber where the music is accompanied by the words of a passage from the Odyssey.
To admire a breathtaking view of the wide crescent-shaped bay of the Gulf of Baratti, you can climb up the wooded path of Via delle Cave to the Belvedere. Then descending toward the sea, you discover the Necropolis of the Caves: here, around the 4th century B.C., burial chamber were excavated, arranged on several floors and accessible via stairways that were carved into the rock, too.
Dominating the gulf is the Acropolis of Populonia. Here, the remains of temples and houses tell us about the splendor of this civilization. During the visit, many new features are offered by this area: a new path along the ancient walls, a mosaic restored and made visible again after many years in which it had remained covered, the reconstruction of the base of one of the temples, and the construction of an ancient hut.
Finally, archaeology “takes shape” in the “Davide Mancini” experimental archeology center, located in the heart of the park. During spring weekends and every day in summer, adults and children, under the guidance of experienced operators, can try their hand at reproducing objects and tools, rediscovering the working techniques of antiquity. Most of the ancient artifacts found throughout the area are on display at the Museo Archeologico del Territorio di Populonia (Archeological Museum of the Territory of Populonia), which is located in Piombino.
For information on accessibility: parchivaldicornia.it