Viterbo. National Etruscan Museum

Viterbo. National Etruscan Museum

The National Etruscan Museum of Viterbo is located near Porta Fiorentina in the center of the city and is set up inside the magnificent Rocca Albornoz built in 1354 by Cardinal Albornoz from which it takes its name.

After the return from the exile of the papacy in Avignon, the cardinal-warrior Albornoz was charged with reconquering some territories that had rebelled against the papacy. To govern these new territories, the cardinal had built a series of fortresses in the border areas, including that of Viterbo which had a tormented life.

In 1375 it was partially destroyed by the prefect Francesco di Vico, an opponent of the pope, and after a reconquest it was destroyed by Pope Eugene IV in 1438.

After a series of reconstructions, it was enlarged with a large stable by Pope Sixtus IV and then transformed into a Renaissance palace by Pope Julius II della Rovere. The latter commissioned Bramante who arranged the internal courtyard, the fountain and a large loggia.

In 1523, the fortress was entrusted to the Knights of Jerusalem who had fled from Rhodes and spent a few years in Viterbo before going to their new headquarters in Malta. For many years the fortress was the site of a orphanage and after the unification of Italy it was used as accommodation for the military.

Rocca Albornoz, like the city of Viterbo, suffered heavy Allied bombing during the Second World War and after being restored it became the seat of the National Etruscan Museum to collect some important finds from the area.

The museum is divided into three floors, on the ground floor you can admire finds from Ferento and Musarna, including a famous mosaic with the Etruscan alphabet, and from the necropolis of Barbarano, Blera, Norchia and Castel d'Asso.

The middle floor is dedicated to exhibitions while the second floor is dedicated to finds from the area of ​​Lake Bolsena.

A section of the museum is then totally dedicated to the Tomb of the Chariot discovered in Ischia di Castro which contains an entire outfit of an Etruscan woman of the sixth century BC. including a beautiful and very rare chariot that gave the tomb its name.

Written by:
Benedicta Lee

Born in Rome from an Italian mother and American father, she works as a freelance communications manager and designer in the tourism sector, a career and interest which she is pursuing with a...

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