Agnolo Bronzino

Agnolo Gaddi

Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Andreadi di Bonaiuto

Andrea del Castagno

Andrea del Sarto

Andrea di Bartolo

Andrea Mantegna

Antonello da Messina

Antonio del Pollaiuolo

Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Benozzo Gozzoli

Benvenuto di Giovanni

Bernard Berenson

Bernardo Daddi

Bianca Cappello

Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonaventura Berlinghieri

Buonamico Buffalmacco

Byzantine art



Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

Domenico di Bartolo

Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano


Duccio di Buoninsegna

Eleonora da Toledo

Federico Zuccari

Filippino Lippi

Filippo Lippi

Fra Angelico

Fra Carnevale

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Francesco Pesellino

Francesco Rosselli

Francia Bigio

Gentile da Fabriano


Domenico Ghirlandaio


Giorgio Vasari

Giotto di bondone

Giovanni da Modena

Giovanni da San Giovanni

Giovanni di Francesco

Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni Toscani

Girolamo di Benvenuto

Guidoccio Cozzarelli

Guido da Siena

Il Sodoma

Jacopo del Sellaio

Jacopo Pontormo

Lippo Memmi

Lippo Vanni

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Monaco

Lo Scheggia

Lo Spagna

Luca Signorelli


masolino da panicale

master of monteoliveto

master of sain tfrancis

master of the osservanza

matteo di giovanni

memmo di filippuccio

neroccio di bartolomeo

niccolo di segna

paolo di giovanni fei

paolo ucello


piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti



sandro botticelli

sano di pietro


simone martini

spinello aretino

taddeo di bartolo

taddeo gaddi

ugolino di nerio



Tomba delle Leonesse (The Tomb of the Lioness), Necropolis of Tarquinia
The wide ceiling of the tomb is decorated with a brown and white chessboard pattern

Travel guide for Tuscany

and the Etruscan Necropolises


Tarquinia, a medieval town famous for its archeological remains, is situated just a few kilometres from Tuscany, in Northern Lazio, very close to Capalbio and Monte Argentario and less than an hour drive from Podere Santa Pia.
Originally called Corneto the city adopted the name Tarquinia to honor the great Etruscan city of Civita that had once existed nearby. In its time Corneto was one of the most important cities on the coast, bolstered by its great location.

The Etruscans inhabited central-western Italy, between Tuscany and Lazio, from the 9th Century B.C., and experiencing a cultural climax around the 6th Century B.C. before completely disappearing - a result of the impact of Roman civilization, with which it merged in part.
No definite answer exists as to this people’s origins, and neither does any trace of a similar community – in regards to its ethnic and social characteristics – between Europe and Asia.
The Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, inserted onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004, constitute a unique and exceptional testimoney of the ancient Etruscan Civilization, the only urban civilization of the pre-Roman Age.[1]

Since ancient Greek monumental painting has virtually disappeared, Etruscan wall paintings offer the most important examples of pre-Roman painting in the West. Only the frescoes of Pompeii are comparable in quantity, and as at Pompeii, Etruscan paintings can still be found in their original locations, in the house-shaped tombs of the rich at a handful of sites in what is now northern and central Italy.
The best preserved Etruscan paintings that have survived to modern times are mostly wall frescoes from graves, and mainly from Tarquinia. These are the most important example of pre-Roman figurative art in Italy known to scholars.
The frescoes are created by applying paint on top of fresh plaster, so that when the plaster dries the painting becomes part of the plaster, and consequently an integral part of the wall. Colours were created from ground up stones and minerals of different colours and were then mixed to the paint. Fine brushes were made of animal hair (even the best brushes can be produced with ox hair).

From the mid 4th century BC Chiaroscuro began to be used to portray depth and volume. Sometimes scenes of everyday life are portrayed, but more often traditional mythological scenes. The concept of proportion does not appear in any surviving frescoes and we frequently find portrayals of animals or men out of proportion. One of the best-known Etruscan frescoes is that of Tomb of the Lioness at Tarquinia.

The Necropolis of Tarquinia

The man on the right wall, offering an egg, Tomba delle Leonesse, Necropolis of Tarquinia.
The egg is a common symbol of the Etruscan "afterlife.

The necropolis of Monterozzi in Tarquinia is famous for its painted tombs, also dug into rock and accessible by means of inclined corridors or stairways. It was realized predominantly for one couple and is composed of one burial room. The first tombs were painted in the 7th Century, but it is only from the 6th Century that they were completely covered in frescoes.[0]

Both the painted tombs of the nobles and those in more simple styles are singular and extraordinary testaments to Etruscan quotidian life, as well as their ceremonies, mythology and even their artistic capacities.
The frescoes inside the tombs – true-to-life reproductions of Etruscan homes – are faithful depictions of this disappeared culture’s daily life. These tumuli or burial mounds reproduce the homes in their various types of constructions; because they were built to mirror the Etruscan habitation itself, they are the only examples left of such in any form anywhere.

The necropolis of Monterozzi in Tarquinia contains some 200 painted tombs, of a quality indicating the nobility of the people buried there.
The most famous of these is probably the Fowling and Fishing Tomb with its polychrome frescoes painted about 520 BCE. The tombs of the Lionesses, of the Augurs, and of the Bacchantes (all 6th century BCE) show dancing and banqueting scenes.
The Tomb of the Triclinium is the most outstanding 5th-century painted tomb, and the Tomb of the Shields is a masterpiece of 4th-century painting. A di stinctive 2nd-century painting tradition, rare in Etruria, is found in the paintings of the Tomb of the Cardinal. A serious conservation problem has arisen as many of the paintings have been attacked by moisture and fungus since the collection was opened to the public.[2]

Of the most famous, the Tomb of the Lionesses dates back to the 4th Century, and consists of a small room with a two-sloped roof. Here, the painting features birds flying and dolphins jumping around scenes of the Etruscan aristocracy. The Hunter’s Tomb, also 4th Century, is presented as the inside of a tent, a pavilion with a wooden support structure. The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, then, is one of the best-known and most studied; composed of two rooms, the first is complete with a fresco of a Dionysian dance in a sacred wood, while the second offers a scene of the tombs' owners hunting and fishing.[1]

Woman wearing a tutulus, detail of the rear wall of the Tomba delle Leonesse, Tarquinia

The Tomb of the Lioness

In 'Etruscan Places', D.H. Lawrence describes his visits to various Etruscan sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia. His writing is less descriptive than that of the first two books. He is concerned with nothing less than the meaing of life, and the conflict between religion and truth (he died a few short years later at age 44 so his reflections seem almost prescient). He muses that societies are organized around death or life. He speaks of the use of fertility symbols such as fish and lambs for Christians and dolphins and eggs for Etruscans; the significance of the color vermillion -- male body painting by warrior classes where red paint connotes power contrasted with the the red skin coloring of the Etruscan tomb portraits which seems to have connoted the blood of life. He says the Etuscans loved life and the Romans who subdued them loved power.
The tomb was discovered in 1875. In the 1920s, D.H. Lawrence described the painting in his travel essays Sketches of Etruscan Places:

'Lovely again is the Tomba delle Leonesse, the Tomb of the Lionesses. In its gable two spotted lionesses swing their bell-like udders, heraldically facing one another across the altar. Beneath is a great vase, and a flute-player playing to it on one side, a zither-playeron the other, making music to its sacred contents. Then on either side of these goes a narrow frieze of dancers, very strong and lively in their prancing. Under the frieze of dancers is a lotus dado, and below that again, all round the room, the dolphins are leaping, leaping all down-wards into the rippling sea, while birds fly between the fishes.

On the right wall reclines a very impressive dark red man wearing a curious cap, or head-dress, that has long tails like long plaits. In his right hand he holds up an egg, and in his left is theshallow wine-bowl of the feast. The scarf or stole of his human office hangs from a tree before him, and the garland of his human delight hangs at his side. He holds up the egg of resurrection, within which the germ sleeps as the soul sleeps in the tomb, before it breaks the shell and emerges again. There is another reclining man, much obliterated, and beside him hangs a garland or chain like the chains of dandelion-stems we used to make as children. And this man has a naked flute-boy, lovely in naked outline, coming towards him.'[5]


Dancers, Tarquinia, Tomb of the Lionesses.
The young man carries a metal olpe, or jug, and in the young lady's right hand are castanets.


[0] UNESCO World Heritage Sites | The Necropolises of Tarquinia and Cerveteri
[1] The Necropolises of Tarquinia and Cerveteri |
[2] Tarquinia (Tarchna/Tarchuna) |
Tarquinia is one of the most ancient of Etruscan cities. The ancient myths connected with Tarquinia (those of its eponymous founder Tarchon - the son or brother of Tyrrhenos - and of the infant oracle Tages, who gave the Etruscans the disciplina etrusca, all point to the great antiquity and cultural importance of the city; and the archaeological finds bear out that Tarquinia was one of the oldest Etruscan centres which eclipsed its neighbours well before the advent of written records.

[3] David Herbert Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet and essayist, was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1885. Though better known as a novelist, Lawrence's first-published works (in 1909) were poems, and his poetry, especially his evocations of the natural world, have since had a significant influence on many poets on both sides of the Atlantic. His early poems reflect the influence of Ezra Pound.
In March 1912 Lawrence met Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen), with whom he was to share the rest of his life. She was six years older than her new lover, married to Lawrence's former modern languages professor from University College, Nottingham, Ernest Weekley, and with three young children. She eloped with Lawrence to her parents' home in Metz, a garrison town then in Germany near the disputed border with France. Their stay here included Lawrence's first encounter with tensions between Germany and France, when he was arrested and accused of being a British spy, before being released following an intervention from Frieda Weekley's father. After this encounter Lawrence left for a small hamlet to the south of Munich, where he was joined by Weekley for their "honeymoon", later memorialised in the series of love poems titled Look! We Have Come Through (1917).
After the traumatic experience of the war years, Lawrence began what he termed his 'savage pilgrimage', a time of voluntary exile. He escaped from Britain at the earliest practical opportunity, to return only twice for brief visits, and with his wife spent the remainder of his life travelling. This wanderlust took him to Australia, Italy, Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), the United States, Mexico and the South of France.
While in Mexico, the author falls dangerously ill and recovers at Kiowa. In the Autumn of 1925, he and Frieda visit family in England and Germany. They finally settle in Italy where, except for his final visit to the Midlands, they will remain.
The return to Italy allowed Lawrence to renew old friendships; during these years he was particularly close to Aldous Huxley, who was to edit the first collection of Lawrence's letters after his death, along with a memoir. In the Bloomsbury years Aldous Huxley had had the opportunity to meet DH Lawrence, a then young and exalted poet whose name was later to become famous for sulphurous reasons. Huxley’s path crossed Lawrence’s when in the past they both lived in Florence, and Huxley had on several occasions invited Lawrence to Forte dei Marni.

'A revived friendship with Aldous and Maria Huxley turned out to be one of the sustaining elements in these difficult years. Lawrence also started to paint, and found it a compensation for much. Early in 1927 he finished the second version of Lady Chatterley's Lover and visited the Etruscan sites of central Italy with Earl Brewster; the trip gave rise to one of the most attractive books of his last years, Sketches of Etruscan Places, which developed the Lawrentian myth of the fulfilled body in the context of a beautifully recreated civilisation.' [4]
[4] The University of Nottingham, Biography David Herbert Lawrence |
[5] D.H. Lawrence, Sketches of Etruscan Places and other Italian Essays in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of D.H. Lawrence, edited by Simonetta de Filippis (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia |

Tarquinia (Tarchna/Tarchuna)

Stephan Steingräber, Abundance of Life: Etruscan Wall Painting |

D.H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places - A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook |

Ancient Art Pailting |

Les Grands Siècles De La Peinture : La Peinture Étrusque, Editions d’Art Albert Skira S.A., Genève, 1985. (Première édition 1952).

Sonia Amaral Rohter, The Tomba delle Leonesse and the Tomba dei Giocolieri at Tarquinia |

Map Tarquinia Monterozzi necropolis, area of Calvario [1]




Tomb of the Funerary Bed

The Tomb of the Triclinium


The Tomb of the Augurs

Monuments and Archaeological Sites Opening Times

The Calvario area of the Monterozzi necropolis is open to the public all days except mondays and public holidays.
Tusday - Sunday starting from 08.30 a.m. to 05.00 p.m. in the winter time
Tusday - Sunday starting from 08.30 a.m. to 07.00 p.m. in the summer time

The other main necropolis in Tarquinia is the Scatolini necropolis, which include the tomb of the Charontes. This is situated across the main road from the Monterozzi necropolis.

The National Etruscan Museum
Tusday - Sunday starting from 08.30 a.m. to 07:30 p.m.

Chiesa di Santa Maria in Castello
Friday - Sunday starting from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m

Tarquinia, Tomb of the Lionesses



This article incorporates material from the Wikipedia articles Etruscan art and D. H. Lawrence, published under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Necropoli dei Monterozzi (Tarquinia).

Photo credits Podere Santa Pia and Les Grands Siècles De La Peinture : La Peinture Étrusque,
© 1985, by Editions d’Art Albert Skira S.A., Genève. First edition © 1952, by Editions d’Art Albert Skira S.A., Genève.

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