National Archaeological Museum of Perugia
Since 1948 the museum has been located within the architectural complex of the Church of San Domenico. From the cloister, one of the largest and handsomest in town, one can see the massive bell tower of the church. A number of stone carvings and inscriptions are on display in the cloister’s portico. Most of the collection comes from 19th-century excavations, including valuable acquisitions such as the Sperandio sarcophagus, the “Cippo di Perugia” stone, and the archaic bronzes of Castel San Mariano. During this period Perugia established itself as an important center for archeological studies, particularly regarding the ancient Etruscans. The various scholars who succeeded each other as curators continued to build the museum’s collection with materials from necropolises in the Perugia area. A large quantity of prehistoric relics coming from the acquisition of a private collection and excavation campaigns greatly increased the museum’s size in the early 1900s.
In 1957 the town of Perugia donated its collections, by then further augmented with numerous materials, to the State, which took over the direction of the museum in 1960. After 1964, the year that the Superintendence of Archeological Heritage was instituted, findings from recent excavations have been added to older exhibits.
The Cai Cutu tomb (3rd-1st cent. BC) has been reconstructed in the cloister of the convent, in a basement room next to the entrance. Urns from the Hellenistic necropolises in the Perugia area and Roman materials have been placed along the walls. The upper portico around the cloister is lined with travertine urns from the Perugian necropolises, a typical product of Etruscan art in the Hellenistic age.
Also on this floor is the room with the ancient and modern amulets from the Bellucci collection. Next is the room displaying sheets of embossed bronze from three parade chariots dating from 570-520 BC, among of the most important Etruscan archaic bronze works ever discovered.
Passing from the portico into the gallery, there is a display of burial objects from Etruscan tombs, including ornaments and cosmetic artifacts from ancient times. The oldest materials are at the back, such as the Monte Gualandro funerary stele (late 7th –early 6th cent. BC), carved in sandstone and portraying two warriors, and the Sperandio sarcophagus, dating from 510-500 BC, with a long procession depicted on the front.
The cippo perugino, or Perugia stone, is of fundamental importance, as it holds one of the longest existing inscriptions in the Etruscan language.
The Prehistoric Section is introduced by an informational display. On the left wall, a 26-meter time scale reproduces the entire sequence of prehistoric civilizations, from the earliest known up to the Bronze Age. On the opposite wall is a theme-based display, with texts and images illustrating the most significant climatic and ecological phenomena.
The Stone Age includes an exhaustive collection of materials, from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, found in Umbria and in other regions of Italy. These typical examples of stone artifacts are displayed according to type and provenance. The exhibits include fragments of primitive pottery and various bone tools.
On display in the large room are materials from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age, including objects from the extensive Giuseppe Bellucci collection and those excavated by Umberto Calzoni in the prehistoric area of Cetona.
The coin collection is now being reorganized.