Photo of Chiusi

Visit Chiusi

The town of Chiusi (full name Chiusi-della-Verna) is in the eastern part of the Tuscany region of Italy, about 60 kilometres east of Florence. Traditionally this region was known as Casentino.

Situated in the Val di Chiana at about 400 metres above sea level, it is also among the most ancient Italian cities, as evidenced by the Etruscan labyrinth and Roman era catacombs in Chiusi.

Explore Chiusi

Your visit to Chiusi can start from the Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of San Secondiano.

Chiusi cathedral and museum

The origins of the cathedral in Chiusi date to the 6th century, although it has been expanded and renovated over the centuries. Inspired architecturally by paleo-Christian basilicas, the cathedral has three naves which are divided by columns that support Roman arches.

Sanctuary in Chiusi, Tuscany

In the central nave of the church you can admire a decorative false mosaic painted by Arturo Viligiardi (1869-1936) and in the left aisle there is an altarpiece by Bernardino Fungai (1460-1516) depicting the 'Adoration of the Child and Saints'.

Excavations in the cathedral in recent years have also unearthed fragments of mosaics with geometric motifs that are now preserved in the Cathedral Museum.

The Cathedral Museum contains paintings and items of jewellery of artistic value, such as “Madonna and Child” by Sano di Pietro (1406-1481). The same subject was used by other artists who worked in the cathedral later, such as Girolamo di Benvenuto (1470-1524), while another significant painting is the 'Blessing of Christ' by Matteo Rosselli (1578-1650).

Elsewhere in Chiusi old town

Continuing your tour, from the Cathedral Museum you can follow the route known as the Labyrinth of Porsenna.

The labyrinth winds beneath the town and was probably an aquaduct of Etruscan origin that has been modified over the centuries and consists of a series of tunnels at different levels and different sizes. Some of the labyrinth can be visited and it is a very evocative route that leads to a big underground reservoir from the first century BC.


Just above here rises a 12th century bell tower, a little distant from the church and formerly a defense tower. Close to here between the Via Porsenna and Via Nardi-Dei you can visit the National Etruscan Museum of Chiusi.

National Etruscan Museum

The National Etruscan Museum of Chiusi is one of the most important cultural centres of the city and holds a considerable amount of archaeological artefacts.

The museum visit follows a chronological and thematic organisation, starting with Bronze Age, Iron Age and oriental influences, and with various objects produced locally such as the famous 'Buccheri', some typical black vases of Chiusi that date from the 6th century BC.

The Etruscan Museum is also famous for the considerable amount of pottery, urns and statues it displays. Among the ceramics, note the Attic black-figures (like the one depicting Achilles and Ajax playing dice in the presence of Athena) and the Attic red-figure (the "skyphos" by the Painter of Penelope, with various scenes from the “Odyssey”).

Leaving the museum, along the Via Paolozzi you reach the Church of Saint Francis, built entirely in brick according to the severe style of the Franciscan church and probably built between the 13th and 14th centuries. Inside the church there is a fresco of the "Beheading of Saint John the Baptist" by Niccolò Circignani (known as the Pomarancio - 1530-1597 ca.).

Next you enter Piazza XX Settembre where you can see Chiusi Town Hall, the clock tower and the lodges, and also the Church of Santa Maria della Morte. The city walls were in large part destroyed during World War II, leaving only some sections intact and only one gate (Lavinia Gate) of the three that originally opened through the walls.

Etruscan necropolis

A visit to Chiusi can continue with a tour of the famous Etruscan necropolis. The most important monument here is the 'Tomb of the Monkey' (5th century BC), consisting of a hall and three rooms decorated with funerary couches.

The tomb was discovered in the 19th century by A. François and owes its name to a wall painting that depicts a monkey tied to a bush.

Interesting monuments in the necropolis include the "Tomb of the Lion" (so named because of wall decorations depicting the lion) which has a porch and three bedrooms, one of which communicates with a well); and the "Tomb of the Pilgrim" (IV-II century BC, discovered in 1928, and consisting of a corridor in which there are four niches and three burial chambers.

Painting in etruscan tomb in Chiusi

Chiusi Catacombs

As well as the Etruscan necropolis, Chiusi also has ancient catacombs on its territory. Some of them, dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria (4th century) and of small size, were discovered in the mid-19th century. They consist of two ancient pagan tombs reused by Christian communities between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Here there are many graves in the floor.

Equally interesting is the catacomb of St. Mustiola (3rd Century) to the north-east of Chiusi. Discovered in 1643, it consists of a series of tunnels where the remains of the martyr Mustiola, a young patrician who died in 274 AD, were buried. See also history of Chiusi.

Chiusi restaurants and cuisine

Having enjoyed so much Etruscan, Roman and Paleo-Christian culture you will find plenty of local restaurants offering very interesting 'historical' dishes. Perhaps try the dish known as "Etruscan Pigeon", or another called “Pasta Lucunome”, in honour of the ancient Etruscan city magistrates.

Other local dishes to try include the delicious handmade "Pici". The traditional cuisine also includes “polenta topped with pork” and soups such as the “stracciatella” (with whisked egg and cheese). Among the wines to be tasted without the slightest hesitation are the Brunello di Montalcino and Vin Santo, accompanied with the Cantucci (biscotti). Enjoy!

Attractions nearby

The part of Tuscany south of Siena and close to the border with Umbria is less visited than the north of the region, but contains a good number of interesting medieval towns and hill villages. Among the most popular with visitors and close to Chiusi are Pienza, Montepulciano and Chianciano.

You can find more local travel ideas in and the Tuscany guide.

See also: 

Map of Chiusi and places to visit


Chiusi places to visit

Citta Della Pieve

Citta Della Pieve

The town of Citta della Pieve is best known for its many artworks by the renaissance artist Perugino

Citta Della Pieve guide
Chianciano Terme

Chianciano Terme

Highlights in the small Tuscany town of Chianciano include the Museum of Sacred Art and the Collegiale Church

Chianciano Terme guide
Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago

Still retaining its 13th century defensive walls, Castiglione del Lago is on the shores of Lake Trasimeno

Castiglione del Lago guide


Montepulciano is one of our favourite Tuscan towns

Montepulciano guide


Monticchiello is a lovely Tuscan hill village that retains its ancient defences and has lovely views

Monticchiello guide


Pienza, UNESCO heritage site, is one of the most interesting small towns in Tuscany

Pienza guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Tuscany