The Civic Museum of the Prehistory of Monte Cetona is situated in the 16th-century Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), and it illustrates the main historic stages of human habitation in the territory of Cetona. Prehistoric activity began in the area during the mid-Paleolithic Age; intense settlement came about during the Bronze Age, especially at Belverde along the eastern side of the mountain. This epoch is documented by a wealth of archaeological finds that make up the museum’s core collection.
The layout of the museum, organized in an educational fashion, displays materials discovered thanks to the most recent research methods, and further illustrates the evolution of the landscape in the area of Cetona on the basis of geological and paleontological evidence.
Closely tied to the museum is the Belverde Archaeological Natural Park, where it is possible to visit most of the sites in which the finds on display were unearthed. Several are caves within the travertine, inhabited and utilized by human beings since antiquity, like the Grotta di San Francesco and the Grotta Lattaia. Archaeological research has revealed that some such caves were used for religious and funereal purposes, as is implied by the discovery of human skeletons and the presence of ceramic containers that likely served to collect dripping water.
The Archaeodrome of Belverde, situated near the archaeological zone of the same name, provides an educational location to complete and enhance visits to the Museum and the Park. The settings, the structures and the objects recreated here are inspired by the two prehistoric periods that are best-documented in this territory. There is the reconstruction of part of a Bronze Age village, with its full-size huts and areas for handiwork activities, and there is a cave dwelling from the mid-Paleolithic Age. The two sectors are connected by a pathway that runs through the woods along the rocky bluff above the caves of Belverde, commanding a panoramic view over the Valdichiana.
Guided tours, thematic workshops, hands-on activities, simulations of digs, and re-enactments performed by specialized personnel are all held in the various sectors of the Archaeodrome.