Tarquinia – Chapter II

As I mentioned in my previous post, Tarquinia hosts one of the best preserved Etruscan necropolises with beautiful wall paintings. The tomb decorations show scenes from daily life, banquets, hunting and games. It was really challenging to take pictures of these paintings as all the photographs had to be taken through protective glass. The dim light ensured that it was impossible to go below ISO 3200 which resulted in a great deal of noise in the pictures.

Here are a selection of some of the highlights:

Tomb of Hunting and Fishing (520 – 510 B.C.) – this consists of two rooms. Most of its wall paintings show hunting or fishing scenes, hence the name of the tomb. This close-up picture shows a boat with four men. One of them is fishing while another is trying to hit a bird with a slingshot.

Tomb of the Charons (III – II century B.C) – this tomb is decorated with paintings of winged Charons bearing different kinds of weapons e.g. swords, axes, hammers.

Tomb of Leopards (480 – 470 B.C.) – the name of this tomb comes from the painting of two leopards on the back wall of the tomb. The wall paintings show guests, musicians and dancers enjoying a banquet. The portrait of the flautist is probably the most famous and recognizable painting in the necropolis.

Cardarelli Tomb (510 – 500 B.C.) – the paintings on the walls show Kottabos players. The players were supposed to throw the last remaining drop of wine in the cup towards an iron plate balanced on the top of a stick. The person who made the plate fall to the ground was the winner. The name of the tomb is not related to the painting but is a tribute to Italian poet Vincenzo Cardarelli, who was born in Tarquinia.

Tomb 5636 (III century B.C) – the painting on the pillar shows a winged Charon while the painting on the side wall shows the burial of the dead. The deceased is led to the gates of the Underworld by a little boy and by a female demon known as a “Vanth” holding a torch to light the way through the afterlife. Charon and two men await the deceased as he completes his journey to the Underworld.


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