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VOLTERRA - GUARNACCI ETRUSCAN MUSEUMThe Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, named in honor of Monsignor Mario Guarnacci, a wealthy priest fond of archaeological excavations who in 1761 donated his entire collection to the museum, is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and one of the most ancient and important Etruscan museums in Italy.
Born in the mid-eighteenth century and currently located in the palace Desideri-Tangassi, the museum boasts thousands of testimonies of the Roman and Etruscan past of Volterra.
The main collection consists of about 600 Etruscan funerary urns, used to collect the ashes of the deceased and produced in Volterra between the fourth and first centuries BC.
The most important urns are made of alabaster, typical stone of Volterra easily moldable, others are made of stone or terracotta. In terracotta has been made the cover of the famous Urn of the Spouses, one of the masterpieces of Etruscan art dating from the Silla period (80 BC-90 BC).
The most famous exhibit, however, is by far the Ombra della Sera, an Etruscan bronze votive statuette of the third century BC with an elongated shape that recalls the idea that assumes the shadow of a person at sundown. It seems that its name has been attributed by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, to which the statue brought to mind the long shadows of sunset.
You can also admire axes, copper daggers, arrowheads of the neolithic period (3000-2000 BC) finds from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age (2000-1000 BC) and Iron Age, funerary objects as spearheads, horse bites, buckles, vases and some tombs of the Villanovan period (X-VIII century BC) reconstructed in the museum rooms. Worthy of note is the Stele of Avile Tite which represent a long-haired warrior armed with a spear and sword with handle with a bird's head. The stele is of greek-eastern style and dates back to the sixth century BC. In addition to the urns, subdivided into rooms according to the theme that depict, the museum also exhibits two sarcophagi, worthy representatives of a rare example of a burial by entombment in an area where was in use only the cremation. There are also many bronze objects such as buckles, belts, bracelets, surgical instruments, Etruscan, republican and imperial coins, ex voto depicting animals, gods and amulets all made between the seventh and fifth centuries BC. There are also ivory and bone finds, gems such as cameos, rings, seals, brooches, necklaces, etc.
With the 38 rooms spread over three floors which house the Etruscan collection, enriched also by Roman and Villanovan finds, it is possible to retrace, by a learning path, the main stages of the history of Velathri, the ancient Volterra.
The Guarnacci Etruscan Museum is located in Via Don Minzoni and is open every day of the year. The cost of a single ticket is Euro 8,00, while with Euro 10,00 you can buy a combined ticket valid for the Etruscan Museum, the Art Gallery and the Alabaster Museum.