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Although there is still some debate over the origins of Siena, is was most likely founded by Etruscans. Experts have different opinions on the exact origins of the Etruscans, but it is said that they migrated from the Aegeo-Asian area at the end of the 12th Century BC. The Etruscans were hilltop dwellers, and every hill had its own farmhouse just as we can still see today in the countryside around Siena.

The Etruscans had a most fascinating sub-terranean culture. Their belief in the afterlife, made it important to bury the dead with everything they might need for life after death. In Chiusi, a maze of underground tunnels is believed to have housed the mythical tomb of King Porsenna. Chiusi's underground tunnels contain an extraordinary storehouse of names bearing similarities with surnames still in use nowadays, and the Etruscan heritage is still found as an influence in the cuisine, and even in the DNA of the local population.

A sample group of residents of the town of MURLO have been tested for their genetic makeup, in order to find out possible genetic connections with their Etruscan forebears: comparison with the DNA extracted from bones from the tombs will definitely confirm if these people may still consider themselves "Etruscans".

The Chiusi Etruscan museum, and other Etruscans sites are within easy reach in the area around Siena, such as Chianti, Val di Merse and throughout the province in many museums.


Museo Archeologico
Archeological Museum in Murlo
Piazza della Cattedrale (MURLO)

Museo Archeologico Nazionale
National Archeological Museum that also organizes visits to the Etruscan tombs.
Address: Via Porsenna, 17 (CHIUSI)

Also, not far from Siena, the Etruscans had the city-state of Volaterrae, which is now known as Volterra. An excellent Etruscan museum can be visited there.

Museo Etrusco Guarnacci: There are 600 funerary urns on exhibit here, in addition to many other fascinating exhibits of local Etruscan finds.

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