Volterra’s remarkable collection of Etruscan artifacts is dusty, poorly lit, and devoid of a lot of English labeling, but it is nonetheless a joyful celebration of this culture that flourished before the Golden Age of Greece and laid many of the foundations for the Roman Empire. The bulk of the holdings are on the ground floor, with row after row of 600 Etruscan funerary urns, most from the 3rd century b.c., but some from as early as the 7th century b.c. Ashes were placed in caskets topped with elaborately carved lids that show snippets of life from more than 2 millennia ago. Many of the finely dressed characters lounge as if at a banquet, holding cups in which they will offer wine to the gods. Some urns depict horse and carriage rides into the underworld. One of the finest, the Urna degli Sposi, is a striking bit of portraiture of a husband and wife, both very old, somewhat dour-faced and full of wrinkles, together in death as in life. The Etruscans also crafted bronze sculptures, and one of the finest is a lanky young man with a beguiling smile known as the “Ombra della Sera (Shadow of the Evening)”—so called because the elongated shape looks so much like a shadow stretched in evening light.
Museo Etrusco Guarnacci
Via Don Minzoni 15
Our Rating Hours Mid-Mar–Oct, daily 9am–7pm; Nov–mid-Mar, daily 10am–4:30pm Phone 0588-86-347 Prices 8€, or included with 16€ Volterra Card
MapVia Don Minzoni 15 Volterra
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.