The Etruscan Traveller returns to Italy


A fragment of an Etruscan earthenware wall plating from the late 6th – early 5th century BC has returned to Italy, thanks to a virtuous collaboration between the Foundation and the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and the Landscape of the Province of Viterbo and Southern Etruria. The transfer of the artefact is in line with the Foundation’s objectives of promoting Italy’s archaeological heritage while making it available to all, in this case by working alongside the government to favour the return of cultural treasures.

The wall plating was purchased by the Fondazione Luigi Rovati from Christie’s Auction House in New York for transfer to the Italian Ministry of Culture, to complete the well-known selection of similar figured wall decorations from Cerveteri already in the possession of the state.

This noteworthy initiative highlights the importance of heightening knowledge of the cultural heritage through joint efforts of private organisations and the Ministry. «We are proud to have carried out, with the means at our disposal, an operation that benefits the nation and assists the Ministry of Culture in its preservation efforts», states Lucio Rovati, President of the Foundation. «We sincerely hope that this can be just one episode in a fruitful and lasting collaboration with the Ministry, especially in view of the the upcoming opening of the Museum of Art in Milan».

Superintendent Margherita Eichberg also commented on the operation: «It is with great satisfaction that we finally announce the return to Italy of another fragment of painted Etruscan wall plating, along with its transfer to the Italian State, thanks to the spontaneous intervention of the Fondazione Rovati. Of late, the Superintendence has intensified efforts to safeguard, research and showcase this rare category of artefacts produced in Cerveteri between the 6th and the 5th centuries BC».

The “Traveller” was presented on 20 October 2021, on the occasion of the extension of the exhibit “Massimo Campigli e gli Etruschi. Una pagana felicità” (“Massimo Campigli and the Etruscans. Pagan Happiness”, at the Palazzo Franchetti, until 16 January 2022, in a renewed set-up).