The exhibition “Il viaggio della Chimera. Gli Etruschi a Milano tra archeologia e collezionismo” (12 December 2018-12 May 2019), at the Civico Museo Archeologico in Milan, conceived and organized by the Fondazione Luigi Rovati and the Civico Museo Archeologico in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Milan, highlights the connections between Milan and the Etruscan world, which started to emerge in the mid-18th century with the creation of the oldest part of the Milanese archaeological collections and was cemented in the post-war years when the city hosted a major exhibition of Etruscan art and civilization, curated by Massimo Pallottini at the Palazzo Royale in 1955. This watershed moment marked the start of a fruitful period for Etruscology in Milan from the surveys by the Fondazione C.M. Lerici at the Politecnico to the campaigns carried out by the University of Milan in Tarquinia and in Etruria at Forcello di Bagnolo San Vito. Exploration of the connections between Milan and the Etruscans continues to bear fruit as borne out by the recent excavations carried out in Populonia by the Università Cattolica and the forthcoming opening of the Etruscan Museum at 52, Corso Venezia.
The exhibition is arranged over five sections with more than 200 items from leading archaeological museums in Italy, including the Civico Museo Archeologico in Milan and the Fondazione Luigi Rovati itself, offering a preview of some of the items that will form the collection in the new Etruscan museum.
The catalogue is also divided into five sections. The section on collecting and collectors draws on the Etruscan collections of the Museo Civico Archeologico, the Fondazione Rovati and the Milanese historic core collection comprising the findings of Pelagio Palagi, Amilcare Ancona and Jules Sambon. The focus then shifts to the 1955 exhibition at the Palazzo Reale on Etruscan art and civilization and so to the excavations supported by the Fondazione C.M. Lerici at the Politecnico di Milano and the Milanese universities in Etruria, Campania and Etruria Padana, where many inscriptions have been found providing evidence of an Etruscan presence north of the Po. Three themes are examined in more depth: canopic urns and the representation of the human figure; the orientalizing fantastic bestiary; and myth. They offer a transversal interpretation of the exhibits and introduce the section with detailed descriptions of the objects on show.