• Sarteano

    Civic Archaeological Museum of Sarteano

The Civic Archaeological Museum of Sarteano is located in the 16th-century Palazzo Gabrielli, a few short steps from the town’s main square.  Its collection includes materials gathered from numerous Etruscan necropolises within the local area, covering a time span from the 9th to the 1st century B.C.

Visits to the museum begin with artifacts from the well-shaped tombs of Sferracavalli and from the tombs of Poggio Rotondo, including a collection of magnificent canopic jars, that is, human-shaped cinerary urns.  One particularly fine example shows a woman on a throne, clutching an axe as a symbol of power.  On display in the third room is an elegant memorial stone in pietra fetida (limestone typical of the area) from the locality of Sant’Angelo, showing scenes from an Etruscan funeral ceremony, and painted ceramics from the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. unearthed at the Necropolis of Palazzina.

The entire lower floor was recently expanded to house new finds from the Necropolis of Le Pianacce, with a room devoted entirely to the life-size reconstruction of the extraordinary painted tomb from the 4th century B.C. known as the Infernal Quadriga (four-horse chariot), the picture cycle of which counts as one of the most significant in all Etruscan art, showing exceptionally original scenes connected to an imaginary vision of the Afterlife.  Indeed, a truly “infernal” journey was believed to await the spirits of the dead during their final crossing to the Great Beyond, through a realm inhabited by monstrous animals and demons.  The leading figure in the fresco is Charun, the Etruscan counterpart to the Greek Charon.  His hair aflame and a wild glare in his eyes, he is shown steering the infernal chariot that is pulled by two lions and two griffins.

Visitors can thus immerse themselves in the strange atmosphere of this exceptional monument which, for the sake of conservation, may be visited only once a week.  The tomb is situated 1 km. from Sarteano in the area of the Necropolis of Le Pianacce surrounded by extraordinarily beautiful countryside.

The museum also contains numerous sculputures in pietra fetida limestone, including an exceptional cinerary group with the deceased and the demon Vanth, a male cinerary statue, and memorial stones-ossuaries with refined decorations in relief, along with Attican ceramics and luxurious articles showing the wealth of the aristocratic families of the area from the 6th to the 2nd century B.C.

Tomb of the Infernal Chariot (4th century B.C.): a uniquely impressive Etruscan fresco cycle, leading to an Underworld populated by monsters, such as the three-headed serpent and the hippocampus, an animal that is half horse and half fish.

Memorial stone, Sant’Angelo (late 6th century B.C.): among the oldest of its kind, this memorial stone provides valuable figurative documentation of the different phases of funeral ceremonies, including weeping women, ritual dances and horse races.

Female canopic jar, tomb of Macchiapiana (630-620 a.C.): the canopic jar undoubtedly belonged to a woman of the upper class, as is demonstrated by the small model of an axe that she holds in her hands as a symbol of power within the aristocratic society of the late Orientalizing Period.

Civic Archaeological Museum  
Via Roma, 24
53047 Sarteano
Tel. 0578 269261 / 0578 269212
email: info.museo@comune.sarteano.si.it


Civic Archaeological Museum



Opened on Weekends and bank Holidays.

10:30 AM – 12:30 AM
4 PM – 6:30 PM

1st December – 23rd December

Opened on Weekends and bank Holidays.

10:30 AM – 12:30 AM
4 PM – 7 PM

Christmas Holidays (24/12 – 8/1)

Opened Everyday, except for Mondays. (closed on Christmas Day and 1st January morning).



regular: € 4,00

reduced: € 3,00

children under 10 years

combined and special tickets available 

For further information on fares, reduced prices and booking, please contact the museum:

info.museo@comune.sarteano.si.it or museo@comune.sarteano.si.it

Sarteano, a town of Etruscan origin, was enlarged during the Middle Ages under the rule of feudal lords prior to the advent of the Sienese in 1265. The castle, which maintains its original appearance, is isolated atop its rocky perch above the rest of the town.  Sarteano was the birthplace of  Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, known as Pope Pius III.  He was the nephew of the more famous Pius II, and his pontificate lasted a mere 26 days in 1503. The Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo, originally built in the 1200s, was restored and  enlarged over the course of the 1500s and again toward the end of the 1700s.  The side-altars house paintings from the Sienese and Florentine Schools of the 17th and 18th centuries.  Especially noteworthy is the wooden choir from the Sienese School, dating back to 1513 and commissioned by Pope Piccolomini. The Arrischianti Theatre is a must-see, as is the Church of  San Martino, which contains a masterpiece by the Sienese Mannerist painter Domenico Beccafumi.