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Canal at Hadrian's Villa that imitates the sanctuary of Serapis in Alexandria.

Exploring the Past in Lazio

The provinces in Lazio are: Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Rome and Viterboro.

Archaeological Sites & Museums in Rome

Looking across the Forum of Trajan to Trajan's Column in Rome. When it comes to archaeology in Italy, there really is no place like Rome, also called the Eternal City. If you are looking to ease yourself into the best and most popular sights in Rome, have a look at the suggested top ten sites to visit. Once you have been there and done all those, then move on and explore the history of the city further with a more complete list of archaeological sites and museums in Rome. For more tips and suggestions for your trip, see our Rome Travel Guide >>

Archaeology & History Sites in Lazio

Hadrian’s Villa
The canopus at Hadrian's Villa. Built for the Roman Emperor Hadrian at the beginning of the second century AD, Villa Adriana in Tivoli is said by many to be the most remarkable of all the country retreats built during the Roman era. The architecture is indicative of how well travelled Hadrian was, bringing together architectural features and sculptural elements from across the Mediterranean world. As the Emperor’s villa this was no ordinary country retreat, rather it was a small city built to accommodate the rulers staff, courtiers, guards and slaves … read more.

Necropolises of Cerveteri
Ancient Etruscan tombs in the Necropolis of Banditaccia near Cerveteri. © Johnbod/Wikimedia[/caption] Also known as the Necropolis of Banditaccia, this ancient Etruscan Necropolis is a listed UNESCO World heritage site near the town of Cerveteri. There are thousands of graves in this the largest ancient necropolis in the Mediterranean area, and of different types from relative simple tumuli to complex and detailed tombs carved in rock. The tombs appear to have been arranged with a city-like plan in mind – the necropolis has streets, squares and different neighbourhoods. The funerary architecture at Banditaccia provides the only clues archaeologists have to Etruscan residential architecture. [Website] Photo © Johnbod/Wikimedia

Necropolis of Monterozzi, Tarquinia
Etruscan stone urns at the Necropolis of Tarquinia, Lazio. © louis-garden/Wikimedia. One of two Etruscan cemeteries designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Necropolis at Tarquinia has over 6,000 graves. These include rock-cut tombs as well as stone urn fields. This ancient necropolis is well known for its many painted tombs; over 200 tombs were painted with complex and detailed frescoes. These paintings depict various scenes of Etruscan life and death, as well as aspects of their religious beliefs. In one of the tombs, the Tomb of the Whipping, the frescoes portray unique erotic scenes. The earliest of these painted Etruscan tombs is thought to date to the 7th century BC. [Website] Photo © louis-garden/Wikimedia

Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica On the edge of the city of Rome in the suburb Ostia is the archaeological site of what was once the harbour city of the ancient Roman capital. In antiquity the harbour was situated at the mouth of the River Tiber, but now as a result of floods and silting up of the river mouth since Medieval times the coastline has moved and the remains of this well preserved city are 3 km inland. As ancient cities go this one appears to have it all. And as archaeological sites go Ostia Antica is well known for its remarkable preservation. Being close to Rome, and easily accessible by metro, it is well worth a visit … read more.

Museums in Lazio

National Archaeological Museum of Cerveteri
One of many ancient ceramic vessels in the National Archaeological Museum of Cerveteri  © Johnbod/Wikimedia Opened in 1967, the museum is housed in the 17th century Ruspoli Castle, which overlooks the town of Cerveteri. On display, set out in chronological order, are the artefacts found in archaeological sites in the area, ranging from the 9th century BC to the time of the Romans. Of particular importance are the many funerary objects such as sarcophagi and memorial stones recovered from the Etruscan cemeteries near the town, including the Necropolis of Banditaccia. The museum also has an impressive collection of local and imported ceramics, excavated from urban and domestic areas of nearby archaeological sites. [Website] Photo © Johnbod/Wikimedia

National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia
The Palazzo Vitelleschi in the ton of Tarquinia, which houses a museum for Etruscan civilisation. Once the home of a Cardinal, then a papal residence and then a hotel, the Palazzo Vitelleschi has housed the collections of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale Tarquiniense since 1924. The primary focus of the exhibitions here are the Etruscans, with displays based on artefacts recovered from the Necropolis of Monterozzi, just to the east of the town of Tarquinia. Objects on display range from sarcophagi and other votive offerings, local and foreign ceramic vessels and restored paintings from Etruscan tombs.