The Civic Archaeological Museum of the Waters of Chianciano Terme, housed within a former granary from the 1800s in the heart of the historic town centre, gathers together priceless artifacts uncovered locally, and it boasts the world’s most important collection of Etruscan canopic jars (that is, human-shaped cinerary vases).
The museum fills 4 storeys and is organized in thematic sections that illustrate all aspects of life and death among the Etruscan people, through magnificent artifacts, evocative reconstructions, descriptions, images, and brief videos.
The exhibition begins with the reconstruction of several burial sites, including displays of funerary articles including vessels in bucchero and in bronze, decorated ceramics and amphorae dating back to the 6th and 5th century B.C., the city’s period of greatest development.
On display is a rich collection of canopic jars discovered in digs at the vast Necropolis of Tolle, designed to contain the ashes of prominent individuals. These cinerary vases almost seem to be waiting to greet visitors along the evocative underground corridor. They portray men and women whose physical lineaments, though destroyed by the funeral pyre, challenge the eternal laws of time by revealing forever their full expressive power.
In terms of remnants from the subsequent Hellenistic Age, there are numerous cinerary urns in alabaster and a series of reconstructed areas for wine-making, unearthed at an old farm that was discovered at Poggio Bacherina. Belonging to the same historic timeframe is a monumental terracotta pediment that adorned a sacred building dedicated to a divinity of health in the valley of the River Astrone, not far from the source of the Fucoli Waters.
The final section of the museum documents use of the rich springs of Chianciano during the Roman Period, when luxurious villas were erected together with great thermal bath buildings that were long-frequented for their therapeutic benefits. It is said that the Roman poet Horace came here to take the waters.