Gli etruschi maestri di scrittura, società e cultura nell’Italia antica

19 march – 11 september 2016
Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della città di Cortona

The exhibition

The spread of Etruscan writing is a fascinating topic, which offers an engaging insight into how, between the 7th and the 1st century b.C., the Etruscan language and culture found their way across the shores of the Mediterranean sea through conquest and the, direct and mediated, trade of goods and ideas.

Although the Etruscan language can now be read with the relative ease, its understanding remains unclear, especially in terms of the specific meaning of its words, which bear no close or direct relationship with any of the better known ancient languages. Understanding the Etruscan language has so far proved a challenge, essentially due to the limited availability of longer texts, this has contributed to cloaking the Etruscans and their language in a shroud of mystery. In this respect, the long-running debate over the origins of this people was further fuelled by a language that contemporaries also regarded as archaic and unintelligible.

Scritta etrusca

The recent discovery of Etruscan epigraphs at Lattes, Montpellier - attesting to the continued presence of possibly Etruscan traders on French soil – the discovery of the Tabula Cortonensis, the third longest inscription in the Etruscan language, which was found at Cortona in recent years as well as the progress made in the study of the Etruscan language since the latest specific exhibition on this subject (dating back over thirty years), prompted the Louvre Museum, the Museum of Lattes and the MAEC, bound by long-standing scientific relationships, to stage an exhibition titled Gli etruschi maestri di scrittura, società e cultura nell’Italia antica which focuses on the latest research findings on the subject and the progress made in the study of syntax and grammar through a new interpretation or presentation of a wide range of epigraphs, some of which are unseen before. 

The exhibition will further explore other aspects of writing, including the different writing media and techniques, how the alphabet was taught and passed from generation to generation, the attested literary usages as well as the (sometimes adventurous) story of some of the longest surviving texts as the linen book of Zagreb, the Tabula Cortonensis, the Tabula Capuana, the Cippus Perusinus, the Pyrgi tablets.


Tabula cortonensis 3th century B.C. MAEC - Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona

Oinochoe Mid 7th century B.C. Parigi, Musée du Louvre

Culśanś 3th century B.C. MAEC - Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona

Aryballos mid 7th century B.C. Roma, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia

Golden leaves from the S. Severa sanctuary, Pyrgi Modern copy of a 6th century B.C. original Roma, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia

Mirror IV-II sec. B.C Roma, Museo Archeologico Nazionale

Coppa 500-450 a.C. Nîmes - Centre de documentation archéologique du Gard

Piombo di Magliano V sec. a.C. Firenze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale

For information and booking

Cortona, Palazzo Casali
Piazza Signorelli 9

Opening times
from 19 march to 11 september 2016
every day from 10 am to 7 pm

Telephone +39 0575 637248

Tickets for Exhibition and MAEC

Full price: € 10
(1 free wine tasting at Enoteca Molesini di Cortona)

Reduced price: € 7
(valid for 15 and more people groups, families of at least 4 people, visitors who present the ticket of Palazzo Pretorio of Prato or Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi)

School parties: € 3

Press area

Area stampa

Texts and high-resolution pictures are available from the link below

Press Kit