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Arcaeology - Necropolis   


Necropoli di Vulci

The Necropolis of Vulci returned the greatest amount of Greek painted pottery (Attic black and red ceramic figures)often enhanced by the opera of famous vases painters (Eufronio, Nicostene etc.). In some cases these vases are directly signed by the above mentioned famous painters. Moreover these Necropolis are the places where some significant and important tombs, concerning architecture and figurative arts, can be found.

Tomba François - particolare (Arch. Fot. Provincia di Viterbo)

Tomba François - particolare
(Arch. Fot. Provincia di Viterbo)

In the marvellous Maremma a beautiful area of Latium, situated on the plains around the ancient city of Vulci, these Necropolis are located in the municipalities of Montalto di Castro and Canino, about 40 kilometers from Viterbo.

Scattered around the ancient city, the main Necropolis of Vulci are in Ponte Rotto, Cuccumella, Cavalupo, Osteria, Castello della Badia, Polledrara Ponte Sodo. Several complexes examind during the century, have returned contexts of great importance. Anyway, if you exclude some remarkable complexes such as Cuccumella, the Tomb of the Sun and the Moon, the Hypogeal rooms in Ponte Rotto and Cavalupo as well as the painted tombs, the main features of the Vulci Necropolis are not to be found in the monumental complexes which testify the history of Cerveteri and Tarquinia. The Cuccumella in Ponte Rotto, for example, which was a great tumulus, returned a pair of splendid funeral Sphinxes, as well as some of the Necropolis of the complex Polledrara such as Cuccumelletta with its five bedrooms, and the Tomb of Isis with a rich set of Local manufacturing and imports from the Near East. Concerning the particularly detailed typology, including ceramic production from the VII-V century BC as well as works from the late archaism, it must be said that in Vulci there is a prevalence of pieces like the tomb “a cassone” which is a vestibule accessible through a long dromos (corridor) where the rooms overlook. On the contrary, In Hellenistic and Roman times (IV-III century BC) the graves with a "T" plant even named “Tablinum” are represented. The “Tablinum” is a corridor accessing directly into a hypogeal environment from which the sepulchral rooms branch out. The most famous example of “Tablino” is offered by the tomb François, discovered in 1857 and belonged to the Saties family. It is preceded by a long and deep dromos, the plant is divided into seven rooms settled around the so-called Tablinum forming a single large central compartment. A sophisticated architectural structure highlights the distribution of space, joining with lively polychromy, the painting decorations, which originally covered the walls of the hypogeum. It is a cycle of paintings almost unique in the Etruscan art of the late Classical Age, detached in 1863 by the Torlonia Princes, owners of the monument. It is well-preserved in Villa Albani in Rome. Located in the atrium and in the so-called tablinum the painting cycle is set according to a unified and coherent sequence, opposing famous episodes of the Greek myth to the Etrurian and Roman history which saw among their players also members of the Saties family Step by step visitors may be amazed at the view of an episode of Aiace and Cassandra, the figure of the Phoenix (la Fenice), that of Nestore, as well as the tragic group of Eteocle and Polynice. The next figures include the representation of the of Trojan prisoners sacrifice in the shade of Patroclo. This sacrifice is also assisteb by some heroes like Agamemnone, Ajace Telamonio and aiace d’Oileo, as well as by some dreadful figures representing terrible Etruscan demons. On the opposite wall is an episode of the history of Etruscan Archaic Age: a group of heroes led by Vulcente aule Vipinas fights with other Etruscans Volsinii and Sovana (?), While Macstrna, who later become King of Rome with the name Servio Tullio, set his friend Cail Vipinas free. The scene continues with another couple of fighters, Cneve Tarchunies Rumac while succumbing and Marce Camitlnas. The narration, according to images of family members, reaches the most celebratory pictorial cycle: Vel Saties with the attributes of the victorious general, draws the favourable auspices from the flight of the bird Arnza which is about to be set free. The decorative program will end with a group of Sisifo and Anfiarao. At last, the so-called lesser frieze, with an animalistic subject,placed above the major one, offers a great deal to the chronological framework of the context, dating back to the mid-fourth century. a.C. The funeral complex continued to be in use until the second century. a.C. Some of these hypogeous with more architectural and monumental planimetric prerogatives belonged to important local families, such as Tutes the Tarnas, the Tetnies. By the Roman Age, a simplified form, the tomb so-called “a corridoio” appears. The peculiarity of this tomb is that it has several small rooms inside.

For a visit
The Necropolis is free entrance and accessible with guided tours on request

Museo Archeologico di Vulci
Loc. Abbadia di Vulci - 01011 Canino VT
Telefono: +39 0761-437787


Testi: C. Chiovelli - Traduzione: L. Adami


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