Chiusi is a very interesting destination for many aspects, especially for archaeology lovers because between the 7th and the 5th centuries B.C., Chiusi was one of the most important cities of the Etruscan dodecapoli (the league of 12 cities). It occupies a strategic position at the top of a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana, bordering between the Tuscany and Umbria region, surrounded by a jaw-dropping landscape.
Here is a short list of what you should see in this beautiful small town.
For a long time, an underground Labyrinth was believed to be located beneath the town of Chiusi as part of Porsenna’s burial place. According to the legend, from medieval times the sarcophagus was held inside a golden carriage with 12 statues of horses guarded by a brood-hen and 5,000 chicks made of gold. This popular tradition was a mistake: the underground tunnels located beneath Chiusi were nothing but the Etruscan acqueducts.
The itinerary through the Labyrinth of Porsenna begins in the Museo della Cattedrale, in Piazza Duomo, and ends after 130 m at the great Etruscan-Roman cistern that dates back to the 1st century B.C.
From the cistern, visitors take the stairs to the base of the tower, built in the 12th century. From the top of the tower, the picturesque rooftops of the historic centre, the medieval fortress, the “Beccati questo” and “Beccati quello” towers, and the lakes of Chiusi and Montepulciano make for a beautiful view.
The visitor path in the museum begins with the "Labyrinth" and continues through the “Epigraphy” section, 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.
In the “Production Activities” section you'll find farming equipment from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Etruscan, Roman and Lombard artefacts coming from the surrounding territory have been collected in a neoclassical building since 1871. Rare and precious finds trace back the entire development of the Etruscan civilization through the ages. The museum displays ceramics, sculptures, the famous Chiusi canopic jars, painted urns decorated with low-reliefs and a reconstruction of the main tombs in this area. Also worth mentioning are pieces of Etruscan jewellery.
Generally the Museum ticket also includes the entrance fee to some Etruscan tombs but previous reservation is compulsory.
Built in the middle of the VI century A.D, it is the oldest church in Tuscany. The cathedral's central nave and the apse were painted by Arturo Viligiardi from Siena imitating the mosaic visual effect, which colours are amazing.
The bell tower is also noteworthy: built separately from the church in 1585, was later transformed into a defensive tower.
The Cathedral Museum beside the church conserves a series of 21 manuscripts coming from the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
Chiusi Lake is a peaceful oasis only 4 km away from the old town centre. With a surface area of 300 hectares and a maximum depth of five metres, it is located in the southernmost part of the Sienese Val di Chiana. This stretch of water - as well as the lake of Montepulciano - represents what remains of the marshes that once covered the entire valley and is a real paradise for those who love nature and bird-watching.
Among the many events that are regularly held in Chiusi, the feast of grapes and wine held in late September, the folklore festival of “Ruzzi della Conca” in Chiusi Scalo that includes a beautiful parade in period costumes on the first Saturday of September and the Lars Rock Fest music festival in July are worth mentioning.