MAEC: Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona
Piazza Signorelli, 9 Cortona
- April-October: everyday 10am – 7pm;
- November-March: Tuesday - Sunday 10am – 5 pm.
- Closed on 25th December.
Since 2005 Palazzo Casali houses in only one museum structure the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona, which combines the historical and famous Museum of the Etruscan Academy (mettere il link alla pagina successiva) – founded in 1727 and today extraordinary monument of the 18th century history and intellectual culture – with the Museum of the Etruscan and Roman City of Cortona, the new topographic section dedicated to the historical and archeological events of Cortona, whose new rooms have been opened in September 2008.
We can find the history of Cortona in a single museum, a rare thing even at the national level. This long history, from its evolution during the Prehistoric and the Protohistoric Ages until the Etruscan and Roman periods, is based on the history of 18th century collecting, which helped to preserve the majority of materials coming from the first researches and digs on the territory of Cortona. The museum structure wants to highlight these two “souls” of MAEC.
From MAEC bookshop
The museum opens (room 1) in a first section dedicated to the environment and territory of Valdichiana during the Quaternary Period with a display of fossils coming especially from Farneta. It continues on the basement second floor with room 2 dedicated to human presences on the territory of Cortona before the city foundation and in Cortona during the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Ages.
Room 3 is devoted to Ancient Cortona and to the topography of the territory in the Etruscan and Roman Periods. The Archaic phase of the city’s history (7th- 6th century B.C.), the so-called “Cortona of Principes”, is well represented by archeological finds of big monumental tombs found at the valley bottom: Tumulo I and II of Sodo (rooms 4-5), with bronzes, attic ceramics and beautiful goldsmith’s art discovered during the 1991-1992 excavations, and Tumulo François in Camucia (room 6), with its funerary equipment materials and those belonging to the Sergardi collection (ivories and refined attic ceramics). The materials of these tombs show the wealth, power and cultural refinement of the princely families who owned them. Together with the objects found in the tombs, the museum displays today in room 5 the finds of a necropolis from the Orientalizing Period.
These materials, mostly in ceramics, are perfectly preserved (like the Etruscan-Corinthian cinerary vase from Circolo I), coming from some tomb circles discovered by chance in the area of Tumulo II del Sodo, which are still under archeological investigation.
A specific section (room 7) presents the influence of Etruscan Curtun during the Archaic phase on a vast territory, going from the Valdichiana to the mountains where river Tiber begins, with golden objects and materials from Bettolle and Foiano, as well as the beautiful finds from Trestina and Fabbrecce, from which emerges an extraordinary vitality of the Etruscan noble classes even on the other slope of the mountains behind Cortona. The Hellenistic period, characterized by a new urban and social structure in Cortona, is well represented both by the imposing city walls (whose evolutionary phases over the centuries are well marked, particularly in the area of Porta Bifora) and by urban and suburban sanctuaries of the territory. Here you can see some materials from the sanctuary of Camucia, which were found during the latest excavations in the area between the garden centers and Via Capitini, those of the Parish church of S. Pietro ad Mensulas (room 8) and the famous Tabula Cortonensis. Found in 1992 and dated back to the 2nd century B.C. (room 9), the Tabula Cortonensis is an Etruscan contract written on bronze, very rare for the length of the inscription and for its content.
Finally Roman and late Ancient Cortona, with a different political organization of the city and of the territory, is well represented by extraordinary finds in the Roman villa of Ossaia, a big rustic villa that was inhabited between the First Imperial Period and the 5th century A.C., among which are some magnificent mosaics (rooms 10-14). The reconstruction of a glirarium, a big earthenware jug where dormice were raised to be eaten, is a very interesting evidence of their traditions. This is the end of the topographic section of the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona, which offers even multimedia tools to give a context to the materials displayed as far as their origin and discovery are concerned.