The National Archaeological Museum of Sarteano has its seat in the Palazzo Gabrielli, a historic building in the town center. The main attraction of the museum consists of finds from the Pianacce Necropolis.
National Archaeological Museum Sarteano
Address: Museo Archeologico Nazionale – Via Roma, 24 –
53047 Sarteano. Tel. +39 0578 269261. Opening hours: From 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 4pm to 7pm. April to October from Tuesday to Sunday; closed on Mondays. November to March: Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and days preceding a public holiday. Open 23 December to 6 January, except 25 December and the morning of 1 January. Entrance fee: 4 euros. Discounted admission price (6 to 18 years, 65+): 3 Euro. Free: Younger than 6. Combination ticket museum + guided tour tomb: 8 Euro (discount 6 Euro). Combi-Ticket museum + guided tour tomb + castle: 10 Euro. (Note that opening hours and prices may vary.)
History and description
The National Archaeological Museum of Sarteano is housed in the Palazzo Gabrielli. Although the present version of this building dates back to the 16th century, it contains older, medieval elements, such as the Porta del Morto (“Door of the Dead Man”). This could only be reached by a ladder, which was removed at night. The only time this door was used was when a coffin had to be carried out of the building. The coat of arms of the Gabrielli family can be seen on the ceiling of the room to which this door gave access.
The foundation of the building rests on a layer of travertine marble.
The museum opened in 1997 to house the collections of the National Archaeological Museum of Florence, excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries and kept in warehouses. To this were added the finds from the Antiquarium Comunale and a donation consisting of the private collection of the Bologni family.
Unfortunately, many of the archaeological objects found in and around Sarteano itself are not on display in the town itself, but in museums such as the Museo Archeologico di Firenze and the Santa Maria della Scala Compex in Siena.
When people began systematically investigating sites in the surrounding area, they found that much of the material had already been looted. Examples include the Solaia-Macchiapiana-Mulin Canale necropolis and the Albinaia necropolis.
What to see
The most interesting part of the museum contains finds from the Pianacce necropolis, which was only discovered in 1954. Here, 21 tombs were discovered, including the painted Tomb of the Infernal Quadriga. There was also a sanctuary in the form of a theater.