The Tuscan town of Chiusi, 14km east of Montepulciano was one of the 12 towns of the Etruscan federation and one of the more powerful, though today it’s a small town of some 8000 people. More than 25 centuries of history then, through the Etruscan and Roman eras, ruled by the Ostrogoths and Lombards, then Orvieto, Siena and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. This fascinating little town has the historical artefacts to prove it. The superb Romanesque Duomo (cathedral) of San Secondiano dates back to 560AD on the site of an earlier basilica. Although renovated in the 13th century and much decorated in the 19th, the marble columns, mosiac floor and alabaster font are all Roman.
The Museo della Cattedrale has a collection of codices and silverwares and leads into the Labyrinth of Porsenna, a series of tunnels beneath the town, dating from the sixth century BC. This huge Etruscan drain leads to the Roman cistern below the piazza and thence up into the 12th century campanile (bell tower). Other subterranean delights include the Catacombs of Santa Mustiola, 2km out of town and used by fourth and fifth century Christians. Chiusi’s main street is the Via Porsenna, with the Muso Etrusco, which has old terracotta pieces, sarcophagi and the Gualani Urn. There are Etruscan tombs outside the town, include the frescoed Tomba della Scimmia (Tomb of the Monkey), with pre-booked guided tours.
The official website of the Comune of Chiusi.
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