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Discover the Etruscans

There are still important traces of the long Etruscan history in Bologna dating between the 9th and 4th century BC. To discover these roots of ancient Bologna, the Etruscan city in the Po Valley, you need to search deeply, especially in the museums of the city and of the province.

 

Extracts from the texts by Federica Guidi - Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna

Archaeological Civic Museum - Via dell'Archiginnasio 2

Archaeological Civic Museum - Via dell'Archiginnasio 2

The Archaeological Civic Museum is the best starting point for all those who want to get to know the most ancient Etruscan origins of the city. In the large hall on the first floor of this building, dating back to the 15th century, archaeological objects tell the history of Etruscan Bologna, from the dawn of the 9th century B.C. to the arrival of the Celts in the 4th century B.C. Enjoy the charm of the precious objects placed in the tombs as a symbol of the importance and of the social status of the deceased and discover how and why more than 14,000 bronze objects were placed in the dolium (the name of a type of huge ceramic container) of St. Francis. [...]

Palazzo Pepoli. Museum of the History of Bologna - Via Castiglione 8

Palazzo Pepoli. Museum of the History of Bologna - Via Castiglione 8

A short distance from the Archaeological Civic Museum, the Museum of the History of Bologna is the ideal continuation of the search to discover the Etruscans. This museum, inaugurated in 2012, gives you the chance to go through the streets of the ancient history of Bologna by means of multimedia equipment and realistic reconstructions that combine ancient artifacts with modern technologies. In a 3D cartoon, Apa (father, in Etruscan) tells the story of Bologna with the voice and the music of Lucio Dalla. Here you will find the reconstruction of an old stretch of the burial route from the Western outskirts of the Etruscan town to the heart of the city. A display of funerary objects and a rich trove of architectural relics completes the visit.

Margherita Gardens - Porta Santo Stefano and Porta Castiglione, Via Santa Chiara and Via Sabbioni

Margherita Gardens - Porta Santo Stefano and Porta Castiglione, Via Santa Chiara and Via Sabbioni

The Margherita Gardens stretch for more than 26 hectares (about 64 acres) at the foot of the hills. Since 1879 they have been the green lung of the city. In 1876, during the construction of the park, a bronze container was found which clearly dated back to the Etruscan age. This first discovery led to many excavation campaigns which brought to light more than 230 tombs. These dated from the middle of the 6th century to the beginning of the 4th century B.C. The burial objects from these tombs are kept in the Archaeological Civic Museum. There is still an imposing stone sarcophagus dating to the 5th century B.C. on the large lawn near the lake in the centre of the park. This is a clear evidence of the ancient Etruscan burial ground.[...]

Certosa. Historical cemetery - Via della Certosa 18

Certosa. Historical cemetery - Via della Certosa 18

In one of most interesting monumental cemeteries of Northern Italy, the traces of the Etruscans were hidden below the more recent memorials of the city of Bologna. Here, in 1869, during the renovation works of the 19th century cloister “Chiostro delle Madonne”, the remains of a bronze Etruscan vase were found. Engineer Antonio Zannoni[...] brought to light 417 tombs, dating back to a period between the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 4th century B.C. This father of the archaeology of Bologna rests here, as well as Giovanni Gozzadini, the other great figure in the city's excavations and in Villanova di Castenaso and Marzabotto.

MUV - Museum of the Villanovan civilization - Via Bruno Tosarelli 191 Castenaso

MUV - Museum of the Villanovan civilization - Via Bruno Tosarelli 191 Castenaso

This area outside of the city is where Count Gozzadini began his research in 1853 and found the first remains of an Etruscan civilization. We now know that this so-called “Villanovan civilization” was the initial phase of Etruscan culture. [...] in the area of Bologna MUV (the Museum of the Villanovan civilization) was set up in Villanova di Castenaso and contains the relics from the Villanovan necropolis of Marano di Castenaso from the 7th century B.C. The most characteristic objects of the exhibition are the stelae of the burial ground; the most noteworthy is the so-called “Stele of Swords”, characterized by a complex bas-relief decoration.

 National Archaeological Museum "Pompeo Aria" and Archaeological Area - Via Porrettana Sud 13  Marzabotto

National Archaeological Museum "Pompeo Aria" and Archaeological Area - Via Porrettana Sud 13 Marzabotto

Outside of Bologna, towards the southwest, in the foothills of the Apennines, is the town of Marzabotto, with a museum and an archaeological area that are of primary importance to the study of the Etruscan civilization. From the end of the 6th century to the first half of the 4th century B.C., in the area of Piano di Misano near Misanello, a real town developed, with a regular urban layout, characterized by residential, production and cultural areas and two surrounding necropoles. The archaeological area is open to visitors. One can walk through the streets of an ancient Etruscan town. The town was built and planned according to the rules of Greek town-planning, proving the close relationship between two civilizations that were distant only geographically.

Archaeological Museum Luigi Fantini of Monterenzio and Archaeological Park of Monte Bibele - Via del Museo 2 Monterenzio

Archaeological Museum Luigi Fantini of Monterenzio and Archaeological Park of Monte Bibele - Via del Museo 2 Monterenzio

Here you find significant evidence of the town and necropolis of Monte Bibele. Both are extremely important for the study of the Celts in Italy and the relationship between them and the local Etruscans. The great invasions of Celts from the other side of the Alps began in the early 4th century B.C. and many settled in the area of Bologna. In the small highland settlement of Monte Bibele the Etruscans mingled with these new arrivals. [...] About 10 km from the Fantini Museum is the Monte Bibele Park where you can have a walk in the beautiful woods and visit a unique and fascinating archaeological site.