The Necropolis of Cerveteri
by Samantha Melamed
In the Seventh century B.C., the ancient Etruscan city of Cerveteri (four kilometers north of Rome) was an intellectually-versed, flourishing Etruscan stronghold known for its production of clay. Modern Cerveteri has literally replaced its ancient predecessor directly on top of its ruins, but the necropolis (city of the dead) remains intact.
It may not seem appropriate to spend your vacation exploring a cemetery, but Cerveteri is guaranteed to exceed your expectations. The Etruscans have built an entire city solely for those who have already died, and modeled it after the city of the living—equipped with streets and tombs that replicate authentic dwellings (down to the fishbowl pattern on the ceilings). The size of the tombs directly correlates with the social class of the deceased. The aristocratic tombs, or tumuli, will particularly astonish you with their magnanimous presence and architecturally elaborate interior. The idea was to prepare the dead for the afterlife, which the Etruscans celebrated as a continuation of living.
The necropolis offers the perspective of dying as an art form. However, you can choose to ignore the chilling undertones and distract yourself with the beautiful view of the Italian hill towns, architectural masterpieces, and stray cats that have claimed residency in Cerveteri.0