Archaeological Museum of Bologna

News / Current and upcoming exhibitions / Etruscans. Journey Through the Lands of the Rasna, Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna, 7 December 2019 - 24 May 2020

Exhibition by Laura Bentini, Anna Dore, Paola Giovetti, Federica Guidi, Marinella Marchesi, Laura Minarini (Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna) and Giuseppe Sassatelli, Elisabetta Govi (University of Bologna)

Archaeological Museum of Bologna, 7 December 2019 - 24 May 2020

20 years after the great exhibitions in Bologna and Venice, the Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna presents an ambitious exhibition project devoted to Etruscan civilization, bringing together some 1,400 objects from 60 Italian and international museums and institutions.

Etruscans. Journey Through the Lands of the Rasna is an exhibition promoted and planned by Istituzione Bologna Musei | Museo Civico Archeologico, in collaboration with the Chair of Etruscology and Italic Archaeology of the University of Bologna, created by Electa and placed under the Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic. The scientific project is curated by Laura Bentini, Anna Dore, Paola Giovetti, Federica Guidi, Marinella Marchesi, Laura Minarini (Istituzione Bologna Musei, Museo Civico Archeologico) and Elisabetta Govi, Giuseppe Sassatelli (Chair of Etruscology and Antiquity of the Università degli Studi di Bologna). The exhibition design is by PANSTUDIO.

The exhibition run from 7 December 2019 to 24 May 2020. It will guide visitors on an itinerary through the lands of the Etruscans and show that there was not a single Etruria, but rather multiple regions that produced outcomes in settlement, urbanization, management and economic models that differed in space and time, yet were all under the aegis of a single Etruscan culture. There is no better metaphor than the journey, ranging over an extensive region between the misty plains of the Po to the rugged slopes of Vesuvius, through Apennine landscapes and seascapes, along roads and watercourses.



The first part of the itinerary is our preparation for the journey, making visitors aware of the principal features of the culture and history of the Etruscan people, through highly identifiable objects and archaeological contexts. Thus prepared, visitors will be ready to explore the second section, where the actual journey takes place through the lands of the Rasna, as the Etruscans called themselves.

The exhibition opens with a brief introduction during which visitors will be able to measure themselves with those travelers who, centuries ago, approached the lands of the Rasna with fascination and a sense of wonder, entrusting their impressions and memories to the pen or the brush. These are the landscapes depicted by Samuel J. Ainsley to represent the first impact made by the gentle Tuscan hills, the ruins of Vulci or the majestic clifftop of Orvieto, thanks to a loan from the British Museum in London. The prestigious British institute, together with the Louvre, the Museé Royal d'Art and Histoire de Bruxelles, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek of Copenhagen and the Vatican Museums, is among the foreign institutions that have have lent items to an exhibition that privileged in its requests for loans a close and extensive relationship with the Italian Superintendencies of the Fine Arts and Museums.

Ruins and romantic views then give way to a skillful modern exhibition design, with bright colors that bring out THE TIME OF THE RASNA and mark the main phases of the long history of Etruscan civilization. Five colors for five historical periods, which seek to provide the traveler/visitor with the instruments to better understand the itinerary proper.

Our  visit starts from the origins (9th century BC) and continues with: the dawn of the city (late 9th – third quarter of the 8th century BC); the power of the princes (last quarter of the 8th – early 6th century BC); a history of the city (6th – 5th century BC) and the end of the Etruscan world (4th – 2nd century BC).

The first part of the exhibition encompasses the timeline but above all an analysis of the society and the culture of the time: the simple forms of the biconical vases of the dawn of Etruscan history mark the start of the story, followed by the tombs with the first signs of social differentiation and the first imports from the Mediterranean basin, reflecting the creation of a solid network of trade and exchanges. Then will follow the period of the aristocrats who loved powerful, rich and warlike self-representation. We will witness the birth of cities, exemplified by temples and their architectural decorations, the expression of a unified urban power.

We will contemplate the flowering of a funerary ideology that looked to the Greek world and enshrined objects of extraordinary beauty, such as those from the Tomb of the Hydriae of Meidias, and we will admire the reconstruction of the decorations of a painted tomb, thanks to the 19th-century copies of the Tomb of the Triclinium in Tarquinium, loaned by the Vatican Museums. We will see the peripheral areas located on the margins of the Etruscan heart of Italy rising to new dimensions, and then witness the slow and inevitable decline of a people in relation to the Celts, Samnites and Romans.

The story of the last and most substantial part of the exhibition THE LANDS OF THE RASNA enshrines the urge to set off with the visitor on a journey, through the ever-changing landscapes that framed the birth of the main Etruscan towns. Once again we will encounter five sections for five Etrurias, each presenting fascinating themes and the latest discoveries from excavations and study.

Tarquinia, Veio, Cerveteri, Pyrgi and Vulci will be the cities presented to exemplify SOUTHERN ETRURIA, where the landscape, with its tufaceous plateaus, fertile plains and gentle coastline strongly influenced the establishment of the first settlements and favored their transformation into true cities and emporia active and projected overseas to engage in trade and exchanges covering the whole Mediterranean. It will be an opportunity to admire new finds, such as the tomb of the priestess of Tarquinia, the votive materials from the sanctuary-emporium of Pyrgi, the tomb of the golden scarab from Vulci, from which also comes an extraordinary selection of furnishings and bronze objects, outstanding among them the visor mask of a bearded man.

The second section presents the complex and very rich land of CAMPANIAN ETRURIA, with princely funerary objects such as those in the burial of a woman in tomb 74 from Monte Vetrano (Salerno), datable to between the middle and the third quarter of the 8th century BC. This is a tangible sign of a flourishing, highly structured community inserted in a dynamic commercial network between the Levantine East, Sardinia and the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic areas. Among the cities presented in this area, where peoples met and cultures mingled, were Pontecagnano, Capua, Nola and Pompeii with its colorful temple decorations in the exhibition declaring its pre-Roman origins.

Our journey then takes us to INLAND ETRURIA, the region traversed by the Tiber, with the cities of Orvieto, Perugia, Chiusi and Cortona. And it is from the city of Volsinii, as the Etruscans called Orvieto, that one of the most important archaeological discoveries of recent years has come to light. The fanum Voltumnae, the federal sanctuary of all the Etruscans mentioned in literary sources, is now also an archaeological reality. The rich votive offerings and the inscriptions dedicated to the gods tell of a cultural and spiritual vitality that extended from the archaic age until Roman times. The splendid polychrome urns from the Perugia area and the impassive faces of the canopic jars from Chianciano restore a physical presence to the Etruscans and recount how they faced death, with what rituals, ceremonials and expectations of the afterlife.

Seas, rivers and Apennine routes then characterize the fourth section dedicated to NORTHERN ETRURIA. From Populonia come some of the most interesting novelties in the exhibition, such as the important bisoma burial of two children in a pithos, datable to the 9th century, or the cache of arms found on the beach of Baratti (5th-4th century BC). Although previously known, there is equal fascination in the materials from the Tomb of the Trident (late 8th – early 7th century BC), with artifacts of outstanding symbolic value that make this burial one of the richest of the Orientalizing period in Vetulonia. Of notable importance is the great trident, a true emblem of royalty that identifies its owner as of the highest rank, probably at the summit of the community. The towns stretching from the Tyrrhenian coast to the ridge of the Apennines are revealed through rich grave goods, such as those from the warrior tomb in Volterra (Pisa), via Poggio alle Croci and important stone monuments such as the Avile Tite stela, for the first time on display outside the Museo Guarnacci in Volterra: one of the most significant funerary monuments of the archaic period in the northern district.

The last section is dedicated to PADANIAN ETRURIA, an extensive region that stretched from Verucchio in the Apennines, the land of the lords of amber, and from the “new city” of Marzabotto to the Adriatic sea (Spina and Adria) and the towns of the western plain (Western Emilia and Mantua), passing through Felsina, Etruscan Bologna, which ancient sources called Princeps Etruriae to stress its importance and ancient foundation. It was from Bologna that the exceptional finds in tomb 142 of the necropolis of Via Belle Arti have yielded a set of wooden furnishings whose preservation is unprecedented and an exceptional rarity in Bolognese archaeology.

The exhibition naturally communicates with the very rich Etruscan section of the museum, which testifies to the leading role of Etruscan Bologna, thus constituting the ideal appendix to the itinerary of the temporary exhibition. Thanks to collaboration with Aster, following the decades-long tradition of the Museo Civico Archeologico, there is a wealth of educational activities for schools of all kinds and for the adult public.

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue from Electa with introductory essays by Giuseppe Sassatelli, Vincenzo Bellelli, Roberto Macellari, Marco Rendeli, Alain Schnapp and Giuseppe Maria Della Fina; essays devoted to the individual sections of exhibitions; an in-depth study of Italian Etruscan museums and an important series of entries devoted to the works on display.


Opening hours

daily (except Tuesdays, other than holidays) Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9am-6pm

Saturday, Sunday 10am-8pm

last entry one hour before closing time


Admission charge

open € 16

full € 14

reduced € 12 | adult students and university students up to 26 years of age with ID and not in a group, the disabled, journalists with ID, law enforcement officers with ID, affiliated categories, partners with relative ID, Bologna Welcome Card holders

reduced € 10 | tourist guides with ID not accompanying groups, ticket for adult groups (min. 15 - max. 30 participants), university students with ID every Monday other than holidays

reduced € 7 | Musei Metropolitani Bologna card holders, children aged 6 to 17 years old not in a school group

free | children under 6, 2 guides per school group, 1 guide for an organized group, 1 carer for the disabled, tourist guides with ID accompanying a group, ICOM members, accredited journalists


Information and reservations

t .+39 051 7168807

Monday to Friday 8.30am-7pm Saturday 8.30-14


Web sites



Educational services for schools

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9am-6pm | Saturday 10am-1.30pm School groups € 5 per participant (free for 2 guides)

Free kindergarten groups

family tickets

€ 18 1 adult + 1 child (6-17 years)

€ 26 1 adult + 2 children (6-17 years)

guided/animated visit for school groups

€ 65 in Italian | € 85 in foreign language

guided visit for non-school groups

€ 110 in Italian | € 130 in a foreign language


€ 75 in Italian

€ 95 in a foreign language

to be combined with a guided or independent visit to the exhibition

booking and presales fees

€ 1.50 per person for adults and groups

€ 1 per person schools




compulsory for secondary school groups and classes