ANTIQUARIUM Poggio Civitate Archaeological Museum

ANTIQUARIUM di Poggio Civitate-Museo Archeologico

The Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate (archaeological museum of Murlo) is housed inside the ancient Bishop's Palace; it is located in the center of the small village, a medieval castle overlooking the Crevole stream, a tributary of the Ombrone River.

Murlo's archaeological museum houses unique evidence of Etruscan civilization from the surrounding area: in addition to the orientalizing fdecorations from the necropolis of Poggio Aguzzo (7th century B.C.), the finds from the settlement, particularly from the rich princely palace that is its heart, identified on the hill of Poggio Civitate, are notable for their importance. The settlement, among the most important in Etruria, arose and prospered on the roadways that connected the coastal Etruscan cities with those inland.

Archaeological investigations at Poggio Civitate, which are still ongoing, were initiated by an American mission in the 1960s with the encouragement and support of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. The excavation of the palace, characterized by two distinct construction phases dating from the Orientalizing (7th century B.C.) and Archaic (6th century B.C.) periods, constituted a milestone in our knowledge of Etruscan residential architecture. In particular, the discovery of terracotta elements of roof covering and decoration (acroteria, slabs, dripstones, antefixes) has returned valuable information on the technique and ideology of power of the time.

The second floor of the Murlo archaeological museum houses numerous fine artifacts, including those imported from other cities of Etruria and Greece, illustrating the most salient aspects of daily life, from banqueting to body care. On the same level, moreover, a section is reserved for the large handicraft workshop discovered in the immediate vicinity of the princely palace, where refined and precious objects in ceramics, bronze, ivory and bone were made.

The second floor is, on the other hand, devoted to the well-known remains of the palace's architectural decoration. Proposed here is the reconstruction of a portion of the roof, surmounted by the extraordinary terracotta statues, datable to the early 6th century B.C., and adorned by the clay slabs, which, originally arranged to form a running frieze under the pitch, bear depictions of banquet, assembly, procession and horse racing. Prominent among the acroterial statues is the famous "Cappellone," which has become the true symbol of the Murlo museum: an absolutely unique seated male figure with a long square beard, wearing a wide-brimmed hat with a very high pointed cap.

Then, on the third floor, a selection of everyday objects (mainly for cooking and serving food) and some unique productions of buccheri and small bronze plastics are preserved. Finally, at the end of the tour is a section devoted to some of the most significant grave goods discovered in the nearby necropolis of Poggio Aguzzo.

The museum also has a restoration workshop and periodically hosts lectures, exhibitions, and seminars on ancient art and working techniques, such as goldsmithing, bronzework, and coroplastics. (text Fondazione Musei Senesi)

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Tourist information office

c/o l'Antiquarium di Poggio Civitate-Piazza della Cattedrale- Castello di Murlo
Phone 0577-814099 

Murlo is Orange Flag

The Municipality of Murlo was awarded in the year 2004 the Orange Flag, a tourist-environmental quality mark for the inland of the T.C.I. (Touring Club Italiano).