||Votive Mask in Terracotta, III-II BC
Image © Cambi Collection.
An Ancient Culture Revealed
Skillful seafarers, wealthy merchants and expert metallurgists – the Etruscans dominated the cultural and economic life of the Italian peninsula for centuries before the rise of the Roman Republic in 510 BCE. Inhabitants of the area known today as Tuscany and Lazio, the Etruscans were blessed with a fertile land rich in minerals, a mild climate and proximity to commercial routes that kept them in close contact with the Greeks with whom they enjoyed friendly relations. The Etruscan civilization reached its apogee in economic, political and cultural power in the sixth century BCE. Although ultimately absorbed by Roman expansion, the accomplishments of this ancient culture greatly contributed to the success of Rome and consequently to the collective history of the western world.
The ancient Etruscans – their origins, their beliefs, their scientific accomplishments and their artistic mastery – have long captivated the public imagination. There has always been something mysterious about this civilization that disappeared so many centuries ago yet left behind such a remarkable legacy, a legacy that is witnessed by a wealth of objects and archaeological sites. The excavated burial sites and settlements revealed everyday domestic implements, tools and weaponry, jewelry, expertly executed sculptures and wall paintings that continue to testify to the brilliance and influence of this ancient people.
Selected from an extensive and rarely seen collection, The Etruscans reveals the complexity of Etruscan culture. Through the exposition of more than 450 original artifacts it traces the development of this unique culture from its ninth-century BCE origins to its dominant position on the Italian peninsula in the sixth century BCE.
The exhibition is divided into three major thematic areas.
Spirit of Etruria – Etruscan Beliefs
The exhibition begins where Etruscan life ended, in an Etruscan tomb reconstructed to provide a portal into the Etruscan world. Filled with lavish burial gifts and endowed with detailed renderings of everyday life tombs such as this are among the most prolific sources of information on Etruscan culture.
Heart of Etruria – The Land
Through the recreation of an Etruscan kitchen, the exhibition will look at the utensils, agricultural implements and products that shaped the daily lives of the Etruscan household.
Life in Etruria – Etruscan Identities
The multiple identities of the Etruscans – men, women who enjoyed a privileged position in society, navigators, scientists, merchants and farmers – are revealed through the personal items and attire of their everyday lives. The elevated Etruscan banquet, frequently represented in Etruscan art, is re-created in the exhibition with original objects and artifacts.