National Archaeological Museum of Orvieto

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Orvieto

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Orvieto

National Archaeological Museum of Orvieto

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Orvieto

Museo Archeologico Nazionale Orvieto
Pediment decoration of a lost Etruscan temple

Visitors to Orvieto should not miss the two small museums located on the Piazza del Duomo. These are the National Archaeological Museum which holds the most recently found archaeological materials from the city and surrounding area, and the Museum of the Faina Foundation, located on the opposite side of piazza which holds a number of older finds plus items bought on the antiquarian market. Of special interest are the Etruscan artefacts, since Orvieto is a good candidate to be the site of Etruscan Volsinii (Velzna or Velusna) which was known to stand on a steep height and was the location of the Fanum Voltumnae, the most important sanctuary of the Etruscans. Numerous sources refer to a league of the “Twelve Peoples” of Etruria, which met annually at the Fanum. Some of the finds in the Archaeological Museum come from the archaeological site of Campo della Fiera which could have been the Fanum Voltumnae.

Other pieces were found in the northern section of the Crocifisso del Tufo Necropolis, including funeral objects, such as Bucchero, the famous Etruscan black pottery. One of the rooms is dedicated to objects recovered during the excavation of the necropolis Porano, one of the small boroughs near Orvieto. The tombs are of high quality and some have wall paintings, a rare element at least in the northern inland Etruscan area. The reconstruction of the two Golini tombs, discovered at the end of the 19 C, are on display.

Orvieto terracotta sculpture
Terracotta temple sculpture
Orvieto archaeological museum terracotta decoration
Terracotta temple decoration

The large amount of architectural terracotta found in Orvieto from the 19 C onwards testifies to the activity of workshops specialised in this production and the presence of a Volsinian coroplastic school active from the middle of the 6th century BC,  the productive peak of which occurred around the end of the 6th and early 5th century. B.C. These terracotta  renderings of the heads of gods, with their faces pervaded by an Olympic serenity, were found under the road surface of via San Leonardo in #Orvieto inside a well. They were part of the pediment decoration of a lost temple that was nearby, dating back to 430 420 BC.