Reed Travel Features
ROME -- Keeper of the world's largest collection of Etruscan art
is the truthful boast of the Villa Giulia Museum on the Viale delle
The Renaissance villa that was the home of Pope Julius III (1550
to 1555) became a museum in 1887.
The Etruscan works displayed at the villa were obtained during
excavations at Civita Castellana, Satrico, Alatri and Segni.
Exhibits include a varied selection of artifacts that provide
insight into the ancient Etrus-cans, such as vases, crockery,
jewels and terra cotta sculptures.
The majority of works came from tombs and temples between the
Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The Etruscans dominated Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio from the
eighth century B.C. until the first century B.C., when they were
vanquished by the Romans.
Most first-time visitors to the museum instantly recognize a
distinguishing characteristic of Etruscan sculptures: The figures
The mysterious look of pleasure on the faces of Etruscan figures
has fascinated Italian-art enthusiasts for centuries.
Of particular interest to some viewers is that the
Etruscans portrayed women as happy creatures.
This might have been because, in contrast to later societies,
the Etruscans are said to have viewed men and woman as equals in
most social situations.
Villa Giulia's important position in the art world is further
enhanced by the fact that E-
truscan artifacts are rare, because their archaeological sites
have been destroyed by subsequent civilizations.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays through
Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.