Etruscans From Perugia

from 30. 10. 2014 to 29. 3. 2015

Perugia (Umbria) is towering in the approximately 500 m height above the sea on a hill which is surrounded on the right by the river Tiber, an important communication link going through central Italy. In these places, the Tiber creates a border between the Etruscan and the Umbrian populations. The top is divided into two, nowadays hardly discernable hills colle del Sole and colle Landone which had been split by a deep, currently filled-in glen until the Middle Ages.

Perugia was perceived as one of the most significant towns in the Etruscan federation of 12 towns and associated with the Etruscan expansion into the Po region in the 6th century BC.

Dionysus of Halicarnassus (I, 30,1) talks about the Etruscans as a „nation rather ancient, unlike any other tribe as far as their language, or the way of life are concerned.“ The biggest rise of the Etruscan civilisation and, at the same time, the establishment of the Greek influence in the Mediterranean Italy and Sicily can be seen since the early 6th century until the early 5th century BC.

In the course of the Hellenistic period the Roman power had gradually asserted itself on the whole of the Italian Peninsula. In Etruria, the process of Romanisation was gradual, affecting individual towns which had to accommodate, on the order of Rome, to certain adaptations.


The exhibition „The Etruscans from Perugia“ aims at a brief illustration of the most distinctive features of the Etruscan civilisation right from its beginnings but also in the light of their relationship to the towns incorporated in the federation of 12 towns. It intends to introduce „the Etruscans“ to a remote nation with quite a different cultural tradition, however still influenced by the advanced culture of the Antiquity.

The introductory section of the exhibition presents the topics connected with the origin of the Etruscans, their ancient settlements and characterises, in detail, the specific features of the Etruscan civilisation in the chronological order by displaying exhibits that refer to the Etruscan craftsmanship in its individual forms and relation to everyday life. It includes exhibits of the black and red guru ceramics, the typical Etruscan ceramics of the bucchero type, black lacquered ceramics and various kinds of bronze objects used in religious and burial rituals or everyday social life. Very attractive is the bottom of a ceramic vessel with the engraved Etruscan alphabet consisting of 19 characters. The Etruscans were writing from the right to the left, although there are examples of writing in the opposite direction. Unique travertine urns depicting farewell scenes and various mythological themes come from the Hellenistic necropolises in the Perugian area (4th – 2nd centuries BC). They were serially made and the motifs were often repeated. What is rare are the remnants of polychromy, the original colour scale and, scarcely, also gold on the reliefs. Bratislava will host urns which were confiscated by the Italian Carabinieri, the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, only last year (2013) and exhibited in the presidential palace in Rome in 2014. Thus Bratislava is the second European city where people will have the opportunity to see these jewels.