25.8 C
July 16, 2020

Orvieto, Capital of Etruria


  • Orvieto

Visiting time

  • 2 days

Orvieto the capital city of Etruria. In addition to the Etruscan attractions on the cliff including the necropolis, the Belvedere temple and its museums, recent excavations have brought to light at the foot of the city a vast archaeological area. Now identified by historians as the Celestial Place of the Etruscans, the famous federal sanctuary of the Etruscan 12 city league.

At the foot of the Orvieto cliff, in an area of the countryside called Campo della Fiera, archaeological excavations have been underway for several years which have brought to light numerous finds from different historical periods of extraordinary importance. The findings and historical testimonies of the place have led critics and historians to the belief that this archaeological site can be identified as the site of the famous federal Etruscan sanctuary, the “Celestial Place” ( in the Etruscan language) and known from Latin sources as “Fanum Voltumnae”.

The importance of the site is evidenced by various discoveries (Greek vases, Etruscan statues, Roman baths, a large paved road and even a medieval church) that tell of a historically important place frequented from the 6th century BC to the 15th century AD. The historian Tito Livio tells how the Fanum Voltumnae represented a central place for the Etruscan population. The place where the representatives of the main 12 Etruscan cities met periodically to discuss important political and military decisions, where religious celebrations were held, fairs and markets, theatrical performances and solemn games.

With excavations still in progress discoveries include the great road that connected Orvieto to Bolsena, the plans of numerous Etruscan temples, the medieval church of San Pietro in Vetere, and remains from the Roman period (a domus and thermal bath with splendid mosaics). Although the site has not yet been made public, many of the findings are now visible in a dedicated wing at the Archaeological Museum of Orvieto, in Piazza del Duomo.