Cerveteri, between Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and its cruise port of Civitavecchia, is known for its pre-Roman era necropolis of Etruscan tombs. The town of Cerveteri has a small medieval center, built on a hill. Inside Ruspoli Castle, the National Museum has artifacts from the necropolis.
Visit the Etruscan Necropolis
Banditaccia, the name given to the necropolis at Cerveteri, has thousands of tombs in various styles ranging from tombs carved into the rock to larger structures in the shape of huts or houses. The necropolis is about 2 kilometers long and is laid out like a small town. Banditaccia was in use as a burial place from the 9th to the 1st centuries BC. Fragments of paintings remain in a few of the tombs and some have intricate carvings inside. Shelves held funerary objects that were buried with the dead.
Banditaccia is usually open from 8:30 AM until dusk, Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays, Dec 25 and Jan 1). The entrance is about 1 kilometer outside town and has a parking lot.
At the ticket office you’ll get a map of the site. From the office, enter the site through a small building with a few photos and displays. Once inside the site, there’s another building where you can watch a video and meet a guide for tours of a few of the tombs that aren’t left open. Most of the tombs that can be visited have signs telling about them. Plan to spend at least an hour.
- Check the Museum and Necropoli of Cerveteri for current information.
Cerveteri and Tarquinia make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plan Your Visit to Cerveteri
Cerveteri is just off the main highway that runs along the coast of the northern Lazio region to Tuscany – see its location on this map. On the other side of the highway toward the coast is the beach town of Marina di Cerveteri. There’s a train station in Marina di Cerveteri and from there you can take a bus into town. From Rome there are buses going directly into Cerveteri, taking about an hour.
Where to Stay
- Antica Locanda Cavallino Bianco is well located near the castle, bus stop, and parking lot.
- Villa Klinai is a small hotel with swimming pool in the countryside, a couple of kilometers from town and from the necropolis.
- See more places to stay in and near Cerveteri
Etruscan Places and Nearby Towns
For Roman ruins, head south about 45 kilometers to Ostia Antica. For more Etruscan tombs, go north to Tarquinia where there’s a large necropolis with painted tombs and a good museum. If you’re going to or coming from the cruise ship port, see our Civitavecchia transportation and guide.
The ancient Etruscan civilization was at its height from about the 8th through 5th centuries BC. There were 12 major cities in the historic territory called Tuscia.
Recommended Books about the Etruscans:
- Etruscan Places: Travels Through Forgotten Italy
- The Etruscans: The History and Culture of the Ancient Italian Civilization that Preceded the Romans
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