Rome Sights

Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia

  • Piazzale Villa Giulia 9 Map It
  • Villa Borghese
  • House/Mansion/Villa
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 06/07/2016

Fodor's Review

The world's most outstanding collection of Etruscan art and artifacts is housed in Villa Giulia, built around 1551 for Pope Julius III (hence its name). Among the team called in to plan and construct the villa were Michelangelo and fellow Florentine Vasari. Most of the actual work, however, was done by Vignola and Ammannati. The villa's nymphaeum—or sunken sculpture garden—is a superb example of a refined late-Renaissance setting for princely pleasures. No one knows precisely where the Etruscans originated. Many scholars maintain they came from Asia Minor, appearing in Italy about 2000 BC, and creating a civilization that was a dazzling prelude to the ancient Romans. Unfortunately, the exhibitions here are rather dry—hundreds of glass vitrines stuffed with objects. Even so, you'll find a few great artistic treasures. Among the most striking pieces are the terra-cotta statues, such as the Apollo of Veio and the serenely beautiful Sarcophagus of the Wedded Couple.

Dating to 530–500 BC, this couple (or Sposi) look at the viewer with almond eyes and archaic smiles, suggesting an openness and joie de vivre rare in Roman art. Also look for the cinematic frieze from a later temple (480 BC) in Pyrgi, resembling a sort of Etruscan Elgin marbles in terra-cotta. Note the fabulous Etruscan jewelry, which makes Bulgari look like your village blacksmith.

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  • Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, Villa Borghese, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, and Flaminio, Rome, Italy.

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Sight Information

Address:

Piazzale Villa Giulia 9, Rome, Latium, 00196, Italy

Map It

Phone:

06-3226571

Sight Details:

  • €8
  • Closed Mon.

Published 06/07/2016

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