Location: Via Montefortini (Comeana) 59015 Carmignano (PO), tel. 055 8719741.
Timetable: Monday to Saturday from 09.00 to 14.00.
Option for educational visits: info and booking at the Archaelogical musem of Artimino tel. 055 8718124
The Montefortini tumulus is the main witness to the extraordinay knowledge of the cultural development of the Carmignano territory during the Etruscan times and is one of the most important monument of the Tuscany.
The artificial hill, twelve meters high, hosts two tombs.
The most ancient one, placed in the center, is a tholos shaped tomb (circular room) with vestibule
The oldest, located in the center, is a tholos shaped tomb (circular room) with vestibule and circular cell with a diameter of more than seven meters, with a shelf behind the closing of the upper dome. The tholos – featuring a terrace-altar devoted to ceremonial funerals, ortogonal to the drum and bounded by a pseudo-tiers – returned to light a rich grave set, which has been subject to a complex restoration, not yet concluded, that includes a rare turquoise glass bowl, a series of plates on top of a foot “bucchero” such as a vast number of carved or engraved ivory objects, high and low relief all round: plates, small figures of men and women, but also animals, floral elements, combs, which shows the relationships these great Etruscan families had on an international scale, either political and economic.
Some years after the construction of the tholos, as a result of a collapse that could be due to a strong earthquake, a rectangular chamber tomb was built, with an open monumental entrance hall at the bottom of which a large trilithic portal allows access to the quadrangular vestibule and then to the cell, with a shelf in correspondence of the upper part of the walls and roof slabs projecting to a fake vault.
The findings relevant to this second set, very fragmentary because of the repeated pillaging over the centuries, however, attest to the wealth of the family and its potential for even international relations.
The excavation, restoration and enhancement of the complex took place during a few decades since 1966, committed considerable financial and human resources of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany. While this work proceeded, it was always possible to visit the grave in a rectangular room, the most recent of the two structures inside the burial tumulus. The works of 200 were aimed instead at the opening to the public of the tholos tomb, the interior and the exterior of the site with the construction of a lighting systems – allowing visits also during the night. In particular a steel ladder has been placed suspended at the roof beams of the tholos and accompanied by servo-scale that allows the view from the circular tomb.
The opening area of Montefortini is part of a program of research and development of archeology in the territory for the Archaeological Superintendence of Tuscany and the city of Carmignano implementing since a long time a full collaboration which also produced the ‘opening of the necropolis of Prato Rosello and the continuation of researchs in the Pietramarina area.