The wide and flat area extending west of the tufa plateau on which Orvieto rises owes its name, "Campo della Fiera" (the fair ground), to the fact that it was the venue for fairs and regular markets for centuries. Nineteenth century archaeological investigation detected the presence of an Etruscan place of worship in this area. In fact the remains of a tufa wall structure came to light in 1876 together with precious architectural terracotta decorations that are currently hosted in Berlin's Pergamon Museum. In spite of bringing to light good quality materials, the nineteenth-century excavations were hardly documented, which made it difficult to find the exact location of the sacred area, as well as identify the characters of the worship that was practiced and the related divinities.
These are some of the reasons why, after so many years, the investigation started again in 2000. The fact that the most sensitive archaeological critics had been suggesting for a long time that the Campo della Fiera had to be considered the location of the famous Fanum Voltumnae, the federal sanctuary of the Etruscans were Voltumna/Vertumnus was worshipped, that they had been looked for, in vain, since the fifteenth century, could also confirm the archaeological data. According to the information that had been provided by Roman Historian Tito Livio, the Fanum was also the venue for the annual meetings of the representatives of the twelve Etruscan cities' league. Now UA students can be part of this famous excavation which is considered the most exciting Etruscan cult site in all of Italy.
For information on how to apply for the Campo della Fiera Field School, please contact Dr. David Soren.