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2010-08-13 Cerveteri Necropoli Banditaccia 100 0359 Ingresso 2.jpg
Banditaccia Necropolis
Location of Cerveteri
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Location of Cerveteri in Italy
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Cerveteri (Lazio)
Coordinates: 42°00′N12°06′E / 42.000°N 12.100°E / 42.000; 12.100
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Metropolitan city Rome
Frazioni Ceri, Due Casette, Furbara, Borgo San Martino, Sasso, Valcanneto, Casetta Mattei, Cerqueto, Quartaccio, Cerenova, Campo di Mare, I Terzi, San Paolo, Gricciano, Pian della Carlotta, Zambra
  MayorAlessio Pascucci
  Total134.32 km2 (51.86 sq mi)
81 m (266 ft)
 (30 November 2017) [2]
  Density280/km2 (730/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Website Official website
Official nameCerveteri, Etruscan Necropolis of Banditaccia
Part ofEtruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
Criteria Cultural: (i)(iii)(iv)
Reference 1158
Inscription2004 (28th session)
Area197.57 ha (488.2 acres)
Buffer zone1,824.04 ha (4,507.3 acres)

Cerveteri (Italian:  [tʃerˈvɛːteri] ) is a town and comune of northern Lazio in the region of the Metropolitan City of Rome. Known by the ancient Romans as Caere , and previously by the Etruscans as Caisra or Cisra, and as Agylla (or Άγυλλα) by the Greeks, its modern name derives from Caere Vetus used in the 13th century to distinguish it from Caere Novum (the current town).


It is the site of the ancient Etruscan city [3] which was one of the most important Etruscan cities with an area more than 15 times larger than today's town.

Caere was one of the city-states of the Etruscan League and at its height, around 600 BC, its population was perhaps around 25,000 – 40,000 people. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


The ancient city was situated about 7 km from the sea, a location which made it a wealthy trading town derived originally from the iron-ore mines in the Tolfa Hills. [9]

It had three sea ports including Pyrgi, connected to Caere by a road about 13 km long and 10 m wide, and Punicum.

Pyrgi was also known for its sanctuary of monumental temples from 510 BC, built by the king of Caere and dedicated to the goddesses Leucothea and Ilithyia, of which several sculptures are exhibited at the Villa Giulia.



Via degli Inferi, the main entrance to the Banditaccia Necropolis. Cerveteri, necropoli della banditaccia, via sepolcrale principale, 01.jpg
Via degli Inferi, the main entrance to the Banditaccia Necropolis.
Interior of an Etruscan tomb in the Banditaccia necropolis. Banditaccia Tomba Dei Capitelli.jpg
Interior of an Etruscan tomb in the Banditaccia necropolis.
Sarcophagus of the Spouses (Villa Giulia) Villa Giulia - Sarcofago degli sposi.jpg
Sarcophagus of the Spouses (Villa Giulia)
Sculpture from a temple at Caere, 525-500 BC (Altes Museum Berlin) Acroterio fittile da un tempio di cerveteri, 525-500 ca. ca.JPG
Sculpture from a temple at Caere, 525–500 BC (Altes Museum Berlin)
Gold bracelet from the tomb Regolini-Galassi 650 BC Bracciale d'oro, da tomba regolini-galassi di cerveteri, 650 ac ca..JPG
Gold bracelet from the tomb Regolini-Galassi 650 BC

Little is known of the ancient city, although six temples are known from various sources. Two of them have been excavated, one of Hera, the other in the north of the city. Parts of the city walls are still visible today and excavations opened up a theatre. Three necropolis were found. The contents of the tombs were excavated, often chaotically and illegally; over the last few centuries, they have yielded rich and exquisite objects, including ceramics and jewellery which today grace many of the world's museums. One famous and important work of art is the Sarcophagus of the Spouses.

Necropolis of the Banditaccia

The most famous attraction of Cerveteri is the Necropoli della Banditaccia, which has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site together with the necropolis in Tarquinia. It covers an area of 400 hectares (990 acres), of which 10 hectares (25 acres) can be visited, encompassing a total of about 1,000 tombs often housed in characteristic mounds. It is the largest ancient necropolis in the Mediterranean area. The name Banditaccia comes from the leasing (bando) of areas of land to the Cerveteri population by the local landowners.

The tombs date from the 9th century BC (Villanovan culture) to the later Etruscan period (third century BC). The earliest tombs are in the shape of a pit, in which the ashes of the dead were housed; also, simple potholes are present.

The most important tombs include:

From the later Etruscan period are two types of tombs: tumulus-type tombs and the so-called "dice", the latter being simple square tombs built in long rows along roads within the necropolis. The visitable area contains two such roads, the Via dei Monti Ceriti and the Via dei Monti della Tolfa (6th century BC).

The tumuli are circular structures built in tuff, and the interiors, carved from the living rock, house a reconstruction of the house of the dead, including a corridor (dromos), a central hall, and several rooms. Modern knowledge of Etruscan daily life is largely dependent on the numerous decorative details and finds from such tombs. One of the most famous tombs is the Tomb of the Reliefs, identified from an inscription as belonging to the Matuna family and provided with an exceptional series of frescoes, bas-reliefs and sculptures portraying a large series of contemporary life tools. [10] [11]

The most recent tombs date from the 3rd century BC. Some of them are marked by external cippi, which are cylindrical for men, and in the shape of a small house for women.

A large number of finds excavated at Cerveteri are in the National Etruscan Museum, Rome, with others in the Vatican Museums and many other museums around the world. Others, mainly pottery, are in the Archaeological Museum at Cerveteri itself.

Other monuments

Cerveteri DOC

Around the city of Cerveteri is an Italian DOC wine region that produces red and white blended wines. The red wines are blends of 60% Sangiovese and Montepulciano, 25% Cesanese and up to 30% of Canaiolo, Carignan and Barbera. The grapes are limited to a harvest yield of 15 tonnes/ha and the final wine must have a minimum alcohol level of 11%. The white wines are composed of a minimum blend of 50% Trebbiano Romagnolo and Giallo, a maximum of 35% Malvasia di Candia and a maximum of 15% Friulano, Verdicchio, Bellone and Bombino bianco. The grapes are limited to a harvest yield of 14 tonnes/ha and the final wine must have a minimum alcohol level of 12%. [12]

Ancient bishopric

For the ancient bishopric that originally had its seat in Cerveteri and is now a titular see, see Caere.

Twin cities

Related Research Articles

Etruscan language Extinct language of ancient Italy

Etruscan was the language of the Etruscan civilization, in Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria. Etruscan influenced Latin but eventually was completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 inscriptions that have been found so far, only a small minority of which are of significant length; some bilingual inscriptions with texts also in Latin, Greek, or Phoenician; and a few dozen loanwords. Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study, with its being referred to at times as an isolate, one of the Tyrsenian languages, and a number of other less well-known theories.


Veii was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only 16 km (9.9 mi) north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the comune of Rome. Many other sites associated with and in the city-state of Veii are in Formello, immediately to the north. Formello is named after the drainage channels that were first created by the Veians.

Etruria Region of Central Italy

Etruria was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria.

Mauro Cristofani was a linguist and researcher in Etruscan studies.

Tarquinia town in Lazio, Italy

Tarquinia, formerly Corneto, is an old city in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, Italy known chiefly for its ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoleis or cemeteries which it overlies, for which it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.


Caere is the Latin name given by the Romans to one of the larger cities of southern Etruria, the modern Cerveteri, approximately 50-60 kilometres north-northwest of Rome. To the Etruscans it was known as Cisra, to the Greeks as Agylla and to the Phoenicians as Kyšryʼ.

Vulci Etruscan city near Rome

Vulci or Volci was a rich and important Etruscan city.

Vetulonia Frazione in Tuscany, Italy

Vetulonia, formerly called Vetulonium, was an ancient town of Etruria, Italy, the site of which is probably occupied by the modern village of Vetulonia, which up to 1887 bore the name of Colonnata and Colonna di Buriano: the site is currently a frazione of the comune of Castiglione della Pescaia, with some 400 inhabitants.

Portonaccio (Veio)

The sanctuary of Minerva at Portonaccio is an archaeological site on the western side of the plateau on which the ancient Etruscan city of Veii, north of Rome, Italy, was located. The site takes its name from the locality within the village of Isola Farnese, part of Municipio XX, city of Rome.


Pyrgi was an ancient Etruscan port in Latium, central Italy, to the north-west of Caere. Its location is now occupied by the borough of Santa Severa.

Euphronios Krater

The Euphronios Krater is an ancient Greek terra cotta calyx-krater, a bowl used for mixing wine with water. Created around the year 515 BC, it is the only complete example of the surviving 27 vases painted by the renowned Euphronios and is considered one of the finest Greek vase artifacts in existence. Part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972 to 2008, the vase was repatriated to Italy under an agreement negotiated in February 2006, and it is now in the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Cerveteri as part of a strategy of returning stolen works of art to their place of origin.

Giovanni Colonna is a contemporary Italian scholar of ancient Italy and, in particular, the Etruscan civilization.


Ceri is a small town in the Lazio, a frazione of the comune of Cerveteri, in the Metropolitan City of Rome. It occupies a fortified plateau of tuff at a short distance from the city of Cerveteri.

<i>Sarcophagus of the Spouses</i>

The Sarcophagus of the Spouses is considered one of the great masterpieces of Etruscan art. It is a late sixth-century BC Etruscan anthropoid sarcophagus from Caere, and is in the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia, Rome. It is 1.14 m high by 1.9 m wide, and is made of terracotta which was once brightly painted. It depicts a married couple reclining at a banquet together in the afterlife, and was found in 19th-century excavations at the necropolis of Cerveteri. The portrayal of a married couple sharing a banqueting couch is distinctly an Etruscan style; in contrast, Greek vases depicting banquet scenes reflect the custom that only men attended dinner parties.

National Etruscan Museum National museum in Rome, Italy

The National Etruscan Museum is a museum of the Etruscan civilization, housed in the Villa Giulia in Rome, Italy.


Bucchero is a class of ceramics produced in central Italy by the region's pre-Roman Etruscan population. This Italian word is derived from the Latin poculum, a drinking-vessel, perhaps through the Spanish búcaro, or the Portuguese púcaro.

Etruscan art

Etruscan art was produced by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy between the 10th and 1st centuries BC. From around 750 BC it was heavily influenced by Greek art, which was imported by the Etruscans, but always retained distinct characteristics. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta, wall-painting and metalworking especially in bronze. Jewellery and engraved gems of high quality were produced.

Tomb of Orcus Etruscan hypogeum (burial chamber) in Tarquinia, Italy

The Tomb of Orcus, sometimes called the Tomb of Murina, is a 4th-century BC Etruscan hypogeum in Tarquinia, Italy. Discovered in 1868, it displays Hellenistic influences in its remarkable murals, which include the portrait of Velia Velcha, an Etruscan noblewoman, and the only known pictorial representation of the demon Tuchulcha. In general, the murals are noted for their depiction of death, evil, and unhappiness.

Monterozzi necropolis Etruscan necropolis in Lazio, Italy

The Monterozzi necropolis is an Etruscan necropolis on a hill east of Tarquinia in Lazio, Italy. The necropolis has about 6,000 graves, the oldest of which dates to the 7th century BC. About 200 of the tomb chambers are decorated with frescos.

Etruscan architecture Architecture of the Etruscan civilization

Etruscan architecture was created between about 900 BC and 27 BC, when the expanding civilization of ancient Rome finally absorbed Etruscan civilization. The Etruscans were considerable builders in stone, wood and other materials of temples, houses, tombs and city walls, as well as bridges and roads. The only structures remaining in quantity in anything like their original condition are tombs and walls, but through archaeology and other sources we have a good deal of information on what once existed.


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  12. P. Saunders Wine Label Language pg 137 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN   1-55297-720-X

Further reading

Coordinates: 42°00′N12°06′E / 42.000°N 12.100°E / 42.000; 12.100