Exhibiting Etruscan history, from the myths of Porsenna to epigraphs
The Civic Museum in Chiusi is divided into three different locations in the historic centre. The tour starts in Palazzo delle Logge, where the first section, “The Labyrinth,” is set up. It documents – through screens, interactive activities, photos and a large sculpture – the myth of the Etruscan king Porsenna, whose mausoleum was kept in the heart of the labyrinth excavated under Chiusi.
The museum display continues in via Baldetti, where there is the “Production Activities” and “Epigraphy” sections. In the former section, farming equipment from the 14th and 15th centuries is exhibited, while the underground room holds cookery and eating tools from the 1st century AD and a series of Etruscan and Roman transportation amphoras, before reaching a room where there is a 2D recreation of an Etruscan banquet, as portrayed in the frescoes from the Tomb of the Colle di Chiusi.
The “Epigraphy” section is located in Etruscan tunnels which twist and turn for 140 metres, passing through an impressive well where a lake which is 30 metres below street level can be seen. It is the only museum section in Italy where the entire space is dedicated to Etruscan epigraphs, with 500 inscriptions on funeral urns and tomb stones. The huge number of inscriptions found in the Chiusi area (around 3 thousand in total, dating between the beginning of the 1st century and end of the 2nd century BCE) has allowed the museum to reconstruct a sort of ‘Etruscan registry’: history of families, their familial connections and the social standings of individuals.
On the border with Umbria, in a tranquil and relaxing countryside, sits the ancient city of Chiusi, which according to Roman sources was one of the first and most important Etruscan cities: the historian Servius stated that it was founded by either the hero Clusius, son of Tyrrhenus, the prince of Lydia – who according to Herodotus led the migration that established the Etruscan community – ...