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The Civic Museum of the Prehistory of Mount Cetona documents the various phases of human settlement in the area around Mount Cetona from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. Before moving on to the actual archeological documentation, an introductory section illustrates the evolution of the landscape of this area on the basis of the geological and paleontological evidence. The prehistorical human presence in this territory begins in the mid-Paleolithic period: Neandertal man lived in caves on Mount Cetona, leaving as traces of his passage tools made from sharpened stone and remains of animals hunted. After sporadic stays during the Neolithic period and the Copper Age, the area shows evidence of intense settlement in the second millennium B.C., especially at Belverde, on the eastern flank of the mountain, where human beings built huts, lived in the protected areas under rocky overhangs, and buried their dead. This phase is richly documented by archeological finds which make up the main core of the museum. The visit ends with an area reserved for temporary exhibits.
The Belverde Archeological - Natural Park is closely connected with the museum. Here can be visited some of the caverns that open up in the travertine rock, which have been fitted with lighting and other amenities, such as the “Grotta di S. Francesco” the “Antro della Noce” and the “Antro del Poggetto”, used by prehistoric man for funerary rites or worship, and the ruins of outdoor dwellings. The park area is characterized by plant systems that show very little sign of human intervention, creating a sort of oasis in which the historical-archeological and the natural elements are intimately interwoven.
The Belverde Archeodrome, situated a short distance from the archeological area, is an educational itinerary created to complement and complete the visit to the museum and the park. The settings, structures, and objects reproduced take their inspiration from the two phases of prehistory best documented in this territory; reconstructed are part of a Bronze Age village, with life-size huts and areas for artisan activities, and a cave dwelling from the mid-Paleolithic period. These two sectors are connected by a marked path through the woods and along a rocky cliff over the Belverde caverns, from which sweeping views of the Valdichiana can be enjoyed. A special area has been set aside for a simulated archeological dig. The tour begins in the Visitors Center of the park, which contains classrooms for educational activities, an information desk, and a rest and refreshment area. All the various sectors of the Archeodrome except the cave are accessible to persons with disabilities, and guided tours, theme workshops, and activities of experimentation, simulation, and animation with specialized personnel are held here.
The museum is in the Town Hall in Cetona (Siena).
The park is located at Belverde. Strada della Montagna; the entrance to the park is at the Centro Servizi, indicated by signs along the same road.
* St. Francis Cave. In the other visiting hours Lattaia Cave and Archeodrome.
It is advisable to book the visit by telephone or e-mail and to call our operators or consult our FB page and our website in order to have more information.