Day 3 began with a trip to the town’s main church, Santa Maria Maggiore, which is located right next to the Palazzo in which I was staying. As a matter of fact, the Palazzo has its own private entrance into the church, as the two are connected by a walkway that I think was behind a door, right off of my room.
The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is a joy to behold. When you first enter it, you walk into a lovely, but rather plain, church with a new nice statues depicting saints, including Saint Michael the Archangel, and a few old paintings adorning its walls and chapels.
If you walk towards the back of the church, you will come to a curtained entrance-way, just to the right of the main altar. This entrance-way opens up into the antique part of the church, which I found to be very beautiful. This is old, old, old. The stone supports, the wooden ceiling, and all of the ancient artwork make this a very special place. Do not miss the fragments of the original floor, now on display on the left wall of this part of the church!
From there, I headed across the square to the Museo Nazionale Archeologico Cerite, the archaeological museum of Cerveteri.
This is a small, but interesting museum, even if it is a tad overpriced at €8.00 per admittance. You can purchase a combination ticket for €10.00, which also includes the Necropolis, and honestly, that would be the way to go. I did not do that, as I was not sure that it would be possible to do both in the same day. It would not have been feasible indeed!
This happened to be the first day of the Festa Patronale di San Michele Arcangelo, the Festival of Saint Michael the Archangel. The major events did not begin until later in the afternoon, so I spent a few hours wandering around. One of the first places that I explored was the lovely, small Parco della Legnara.
After a quick panini at a bar for lunch, I continued on my way.
I stumbled upon a community garden of sorts. The town has planted various vegetables and other plants down in the ravine, and uses it as an educational tool for the children.
I then set off in search of the Necropolis of Sant’Angelo. According to the map, it was just a short walk outside of town, on a dirt road. And that was exactly where it turned out to be!
I did not see another living soul, while walking this stretch of road. It is a shame, because this was an amazing sight. After you pass a shrine dedicated to Sant’Angelo, you round a slight bend, and there is an Etruscan necropolis cut into the cliffside. It was awesome!
I made my way back into town.
When I arrived back in the center of town, set-up for the festival was in high gear.
Various tents were set up along one side of the piazza, each tent representing one of the rioni (neighborhoods) of Cerveteri. The tents sold food and drinks, each manned by residents from the particular rione that it was representing.
Back in Piazza Aldo Moro, amusement rides were set up for kids, while the rest of the streets of the Centro Storico were lined with booths selling everything, from house plants to candy.
There were a few contests that day, the first being a pasta-making one.
This was followed by a pasta-eating contest, no hands allowed!
There was also a talent competition, later in the evening, but I missed most of that, as I was in a restaurant, having dinner. I dined at Osteria Fuori al Mura. Again, it was a wonderful meal. I started with thin slices of porchetta: Roasted pig with herbs rolled into it. Then, I had a beautiful pasta dish with pesto, tomatoes and burrata. It was to die for! Dessert was a pistachio semifreddo, which was served on a bed of liquid white chocolate, with fresh whipped cream. Coffee and grappa followed, and once again, the cost for everything was €40.00.
Next up: Exploring more tombs, and the final day of the festival in Cerveteri!
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!