Originally known as Caere, Cerveteri was one of the city states of the Etruscan League. The Necropoli della Banditaccia, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, is located 2 kilometers outside of the town. There is a bus you can take from Piazza Aldo Moro that takes you to the Necropoli, but I highly recommend walking it. It is a safe walk, and for most of the distance, there is a designated walking area, protected by a fence that runs alongside the road. I chose to walk to the Necropoli!
Via della Necropoli starts right at the bottom of the Centro Storico. This road will lead you directly to the site.
The first parking lot that you stumble upon is for buses and other vehicles. There is another parking lot much closer to the site. Just continue walking down the road!
Here, it is necessary to walk alongside the road, as the ground on the other side of the fence, at times, drops off into tombs.
The Necropoli itself is a sight that you must see! It is vast! There are approximately 1,000 tombs, 400 in the Necropoli itself, on 10 hectares of land, while the others are spread around the surrounding countryside. Some of the tombs date back from the 9th century BC. When you arrive at the site, follow the signs to the ticket office. Once you have purchased your admission ticket for €6.00, you are given a remote control. The ticketed area is staffed by young adults, most of whom are very helpful. They will ask you which language you speak, and then they will program your remote and tell you which button to press, when you enter into certain tombs. You are also given a map of the area. From that point on, it is all up to you!
Down a pathway, you will find a small building where a film is shown, giving you a history of the tombs, and a general explanation of the site. There is also a snack bar there, as well as toilets.
Going inside of the tombs was a fun experience. When you enter, some of them are lit by motion sensors, but in others, you walk inside, press the button on the remote, and an explanation begins, telling you about the history of the particular tomb. A few of these are accompanied by multimedia effects, including lighting, video, and of course, sound. It makes for a really fun and educational experience. You will find a staff member standing at the entrance to these particular tombs, controlling the crowds. The multimedia explanations take approximately five to ten minutes each, so it is no big deal to wait for one group to exit before entering yourself. And inside of the tombs, space is limited, so you wouldn’t want to be in there with a group of fifteen or so school children!
I strongly advise taking your time here. Explore the small pathways, and make sure that you cover it all. I spent 4 hours walking around the Necropoli, and I still did not see it all. Some of the tombs are not lit, so take a flashlight with you, if you want to have an even better experience.
After walking around the area, I found the photos of the people excavating the tombs fascinating! I decided to leave the tombs outside of the ticketed area for another day, and instead, took a leisurely walk back towards town.
I ate dinner that night at Da Bibbo Osteria Rivisitata. If you are planning on dining here, and I recommend that you do, it is best to make a reservation, especially if you want to dine outside. I had a reservation I had made the day before, so I had no problem getting a table. But, while I sat there, people kept coming in, and before you knew it, they were turning people away. The food here was very good! I had sauteed clams and mussels, and then, spaghetti with gallinetta di mare (tiny clams), which was delicious! The two plates, a bottle of local wine, water, coffee, dessert (tiramisu with a kinder torte inside), plus a grappa, cost €45.00.
After dinner, I strolled back to the Palazzo and my lovely room, having had an exciting and educational day.
Next up: More from Cerveteri, including the Museo Nazionale Cerite, and the first day of the festival honoring the town’s patron saint, San Michele Arcangelo.
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Cerveteri, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!