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Cerveteri is a town and comune of the northern Lazio, in the province of Rome. Originally known as Caere (also Caisra and Cisra), it is famous for a number of Etruscanmarker necropoleis that include some of the best Etruscan tombs anywhere.
Via degli Inferi, the main entrance to the Banditaccia Necropolis.
General View of Tombs, the landscape in December.

Main sights

Necropolis of the Banditaccia

The most famous attraction of Cerveteri is the Necropoli della Banditaccia, which has been declared by UNESCOmarker a World Heritage Site together with the necropoleis in Tarquiniamarker. It covers an area of 400 ha, of which 10 ha can be visited, encompassing a total of 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 late Etruscan age (3rd century BC). The most ancient ones are in the shape of a pit, in which the ashes of the dead were housed; also simple potholes are present.

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

The mounds 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. The most famous of these mounds is the so-called Tomba dei Rilievi (Tomb of the Reliefs, 3rd century BC), identified from an inscription as belonging to one Matunas and provided with an exceptional series of frescoes, bas-reliefs and sculptures portraying a large series of contemporary life tools.
Etruscan phallic symbols.
"Cippi" indicating that tomb occupants were male
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.

Most finds excavated at Cerveteri necropolis are currently housed in the National Etruscan Museummarker, Romemarker. Others are in the Archaeological Museum at Cerveteri itself.


  • The Rocca (castle)
  • Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, including a medieval section reachable from the 1950s addition through a triumphal arch.
  • Palazzo Ruspoli, rebuilt as baronal palace by the Orsini in 1533. The portico and the loggia on the façade are from the 17th century. It is connected to Santa Maria Maggiore through a passetto (enclosed bridge), built in 1760.
  • The small church of Sant'Antonio Abate, with a 1472 fresco by Lorenzo da Viterbo.
  • The medieval burgh of Cerimarker
  • Castle of Cerenova

Twin cities

See also

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