Necropolis of Palazzone & Hypogeum of Volumni

Historic Site in Perugia

Hypogeum Of The Volumnis, Perugia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / CyArk

The Necropolis of Palazzone is an ancient Etruscan burial site located near Perugia, in the hamlet of Ponte San Giovanni. It extends across a hill that historically overlooked the road descending towards the Tiber River. This extensive necropolis comprises over 200 tombs, making it one of the most significant and well-preserved Etruscan burial grounds in the region.

Historical Significance The Volumni Hypogeum belonged to the wealthy Velimna-Volumni family and was the largest and most significant Etruscan noble tomb in the region at its peak. The necropolis it was part of likely connected to a smaller settlement that controlled one of the Tiber’s fords.

Why Visit This hypogeum is a remarkable example of Etruscan funerary architecture from the Hellenistic period. It is the most important tomb in the Palazzone necropolis, which comprises over 200 tombs and is well-equipped for visitors. The site includes a small Antiquarium that houses materials from the necropolis and thematic exhibitions on the daily and social life of the Etruscans, reconstructed through literary testimonies and archaeological finds.

Description The entrance to the archaeological area leads into a building constructed after the hypogeum’s discovery in 1840. This building, initially used as an Antiquarium, contains hundreds of Hellenistic cinerary urns and incorporates the main hypogeum, accessed by a long staircase built in modern times. The tomb mimics the traditional layout of a Roman house and is divided into ten rooms.

The entrance, marked by a massive architrave topped with a travertine closing slab, bears an Etruscan inscription referring to the tomb’s construction and the noble “Velimna” family (Latin “Volumni”). Inside, a rectangular atrium with a ceiling imitating wooden double-pitched roofs leads to the “Cubicula” (bedrooms) on either side. At the back, flanked by two “Alae” (side cells), is the “Tablinum,” the most important room symbolizing authority and family continuity. This room houses the burial urns of seven family members, six Etruscan and one Roman.

The most elaborate urn belongs to “Arnth Velimnas Aules,” depicted semi-reclining on a “kline” (bed) with the door to Hades painted at the base. The right side contains urns of other male family members, while the left features the urn of the daughter “Veilia,” seated in a feasting pose. The last urn, dating to the 1st century AD, is marble with a temple shape and bears a double inscription in Latin and Etruscan.

The entrance hall displays hundreds of urns found during the 19th-century excavations. Typical Perugian productions from the Hellenistic age, these urns are made of travertine, while those in closed terracotta and alabaster come from Volterra of the same period.

Curiosity The Volumni Hypogeum was accidentally discovered in 1840 during road construction. The necropolis was subsequently explored by Count Baglioni, the owner of the surrounding land and the nearby Villa del Palazzone, who gave his name to the entire burial area.

The Necropolis of Palazzone & Hypogeum of Volumni appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Perugia!

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Visiting Necropolis of Palazzone & Hypogeum of Volumni

Address: Ipogeo dei Volumni e Necropoli del Palazzone Via Assisana, 53 06126 Perugia PG Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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