Cerveteri : general information of this mysterious and ancient etruscan burial grounds, tomb mounds and veritable city of the dead


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Cerveteri and its ancient Etruscan burial city

map of ancient etruscan necropolis sites and burial moundsThe Latins knew Cerveteri as Caere, the ancient Etruscans as Kysri. The location now known as Cerveteri was one of the most powerful cities of ancient Etruria. Rome's dominance eventually lead to its destruction but not before the Etruscans had built the most extraordinary necropolis there.

It is situated close to the coast north of Rome and if you visit you will find a veritable city of the dead (area known as the Banditaccia necropolis). Vaguely reminiscent of ancient Egyptian burials you will walk around an ancient city, the housing being made up of a huge number of burial mounds. It is said that the inspiration for the Pantheon of Rome is to be found here. The inside of these mounds was structured very much like the ancient homes of the Etruscan people with stairs, rooms, chairs and even utensils being carved out of the volcanic rock. The burials were often hidden away in unobtrusive nieches. A picture of one of the most famous interiors is attached:Cerveteri ancient etruscan burial mounds tombs necropolis

 The wealth of Cerveteri came from both agriculture and metal taken from the nearby hills and traded with the rest of the world through the nearby ports such as Pyrgi (see map). It shared such dominance, wealth and infrastructure with Tarquinia further up the coast. Some of this wealth is now to be found in the Villa Giulia (Rome) and Vatican Museums (the Gregorian Museum), not to mention the British Museum, NY and Louvre. The finds of the Regolini-Galassi tomb and burial being particularly worthy of note (Vatican).

Cerveteri is an unforgettable must for visitors of Rome (see below if you wish to visit).

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