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Do you want to meet the modern Etruscans? Go to Murlo! Small medieval village in the middle of the most natural and isolated Sienese countryside, with no large cities in the immediate vicinity, Murlo is completely immersed in the beautiful Val di Merse.
In the last 20 years, Murlo has become famous not only for the architectural beauty of its village, but above all because a study on the DNA of the inhabitants confirmed the conservation of the genetic heritage of the ancient Etruscans. It is no coincidence that one of the wonders of Etruscan culture was discovered on the nearby hill: a large princely palace surrounded by artisan shops. It has long been known that the profiles of some locals had an extraordinary resemblance to Etruscan statues and paintings (found throughout Tuscany), and recent studies have given strong confirmation: in the DNA of the local people there is Etruscan DNA.
The study was carried out in 2007, demonstrating a kinship with the inhabitants of Anatolia (Turkey), which the studies say is the true homeland of the Etruscans. This kinship has been found in many of the "elderly" inhabitants of various Tuscan cities with Etruscan origins, but in the town of Murlo the peak of kinship and therefore of genetic heritage has reached 17%. This score was explained by researchers from the long isolation of this territory, from 1189 to 1749, a fief of the Bishops of Siena (6 centuries of isolation and therefore almost total uncontamination from the outside).
Inside the Episcopal Palace there is the fascinating Etruscan Museum of Murlo, the Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate, which unlike other Etruscan museums, does not show finds from tombs, but objects of everyday life and strange statues unique in their kind, that became the symbol of this village.
The Antiquarium is probably the most important cultural attraction of Murlo (putting aside the natural beauty of the surrounding place and nature): a modern museum which houses the archaeological finds found in the nearby Etruscan settlement.
Among these we find a large palace belonging to a local prince, with adjoining workshops of iron, bronze, alabaster, terracotta and ivory artisans, and indeed life-sized terracotta statues, which adorned the roof of the princely palace. Of all, the sphinx, the gorgon and the mysterious cappellone (big hat) are the most famous. The latter portrays a man with a large headdress, similar to a Mexican sombrero, which has become the quintessential symbol of Murlo. This strange individual was likely a prominent community healing shaman, a medicine man with powers of regeneration (not unlike American Redskin sorcerers).