Tour of the Etruscans in Cortona

Cortona is a beautiful village perched on a high hill overlooking the Valdichiana, immersed in a gentle landscape that embraces Tuscany and Umbria, a few kilometers from the shores of Lake Trasimeno. People come to Cortona to enjoy the beauty left by centuries and centuries of successive civilizations, primarily to discover the fascinating and still mysterious civilization of the Etruscans. Cortona was an important Etruscan city in the center of the Etruria territory, a crossroads of commerce and cultural relations, and the traces of its past are still clearly visible.

Even the tradition of good food and excellent wine produced in the surroundings descends from the customs of the ancient Etruscan inhabitants, later absorbed by the Romans. who were the first to produce olive oil and wine in this region and perhaps also the first to raise the famous breed of cattle called “Chianina” which is still highly appreciated at the table today.

Itinerary of the Etruscans in Cortona and in the Etruscan necropolis of Sodo

A different and interesting way to discover the area could be to take a one-day tour following the common thread of the Etruscans in Cortona, starting from the historic center where you will visit the MAEC Museum and continuing with the Archaeological Park where there are some Tombs Etruscan, through the scenic roads that wind through the surrounding hills.

Discovering the Museum of the Etruscan Academy (MAEC) and the Etruscan Tombs

The guided tour of the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona (MAEC) and of the Etruscan Tombs of Melone I and II in the necropolis of Sodo – today the Archaeological Park – is a journey to discover this extraordinary civilization which flourished between the 9th and 3rd century B.C. and of which Cortona was a great protagonist.

The Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the city of Cortona (MAEC)

The first, unmissable stop is a visit to the MAEC, or the Museum of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona. Founded in 1727, it is not only an archaeological museum dedicated to the Etruscans, but it is also an important center of study and dissemination closely linked to the activity of the Etruscan Academy. The museum exhibits unique and precious pieces that open a window on the daily life of the Etruscans and testify to how skilled this people were in the arts, commerce, culture and society. Just think of the condition of Etruscan women, very emancipated and with important roles within society, unlike Roman women. The Museum collects archaeological finds excavated in the Cortona area, including very important pieces of Etruscan civilization such as the Bronze Chandelier, the Tabula Cortonensis (one of the most important and extensive texts in the Etruscan language known) and the Kit from the Princely Tomb called Melone II of the Firm with beautiful gold jewelry. Among the paintings there are works by Luca Signorelli, Cristofano Allori, Baccio Ciarpi, Pietro da Cortona and Giovan Battista Piazzetta and those by the futurist Gino Severini, from Cortona. Also furnishings, porcelain and other objects related to the history of the Academy.

The Etruscan walls

The Etruscan walls of Cortona built around the IV-III century. A. C. deserve to be seen. They still all run around the village: the modern walls that surround Cortona are built on the basis of the older, Etruscan ones, and even today you can clearly see the difference between the lower and upper bands.

The Etruscan Tombs of Cortona in the Archaeological Park

The visit to the Museum will be joined by the exciting excursion to the Etruscan tombs in the plain below Cortona: we will visit the tumulus tomb called Melone II del Sodo from the archaic period, consisting of two tombs inside: Tomb 1 with a pseudo-vaulted roof in the years 1928/29; Tomb 2 excavated in 1991 yielded a very rich set of goldsmith’s art (today at the MAEC).

Tour Details

What you will see

  • The Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the city of Cortona (MAEC)
  • The Etruscan Chandelier of Cortona
  • The Tabula Cortonensis
  • The Etruscan gold jewels of Melone I and Melone II del Sodo in Cortona
  • The Etruscan Walls of Cortona
  • The Archaeological Park of Cortona with the Etruscan tombs of Melone I and Melone II

Expert guide and art historian

History, art and archeology tours