Chiusi is a town full of history and culture as well as an
important archeological centre at an international level. It has
Umbro-etruscan origins. It experienced a period of great expansion
between the VII and V centuries BC; afterwards, it was under the
As seat of the Longobard Dukedom in 1765, it experienced a decay
caused by marshland and the consequent malaria. It was first under
the influence of Orvieto and then Siena; for a short period it
became a free city before being surrendered again to Siena and , as
a result, being a part of the Dukedom of Florence.
Going through the main gate with its Etruscan round-arch original
form, ruined during the last war, you reach Via Porsenna, borded on
the right by Medieval and Renaissance buildings. At the end of the
street spreads out Piazza del Duomo, where the subsoil was
excavated many times and remains of a building likely dwelled by
Porsena were found. In front of the church stands the Episcopal
Palace; on the left, stands alone the Bell Tower, whose
basement dates back to the XIII century; the most ancient part was
probably built with fragments of buildings risen at the times of the
bishop Lanfranco, who tried to obtain the control of Chiusi as
count-bishop, in the XVI century.
Cathedral was founded by the bishop Fiorentino in the VI
century, completely adjusted in the XII century and most transformed
in the XIX century. Inside, three aisles without the transept end
each one with an apse. Columns supporting roud arches have different
capitals coming from Roman buildings. In the right aisle, there is a
font having on the top the statue of St. John the Baptist by the
school of Andrea Sansovino. Between 1887 and 1894 the church was
painted with a sham mosaic by Arturo Viligiardi, following
pre-Christian and Romanesque iconographic criteria. From the
Sacristy you get to the Chapter-House where some important
illuminated codes coming from the Monastery of Monte Oliveto
Maggiore are kept in a glass show-case.
Going away from the church you reach the Town Museum.
Since the beginning of the XVIII century Chiusi has kept drawing
its attention to its Etruscan origins and seeking the remains
of its ancient and glorious civilization. Since the XIX century very
important tombs have been discovered. However, excavations were not
always undergone only by archeologists and scientists, but,
sometimes, by tombarolis in a hasty and damaging way.
In 1870 the first section of the Museum was set up with some
objects coming from tombs, and then enlarged by new gifts. At the
beginning of this century, the Town Museum has began being built; in
1932 the rooms were enlarged. The Museum was damaged during the
World War and owned by the State in 1963. Its present setting,
open in 1992, is ranged in three sections. Objects here shown come
from excavations in the near outskirts; that is why they are very
important. The very rare and precious inheritance of the Museum
consists in relief cippi, bucaros, Canopic vases and inscriptions.