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The Labyrinth of Lars Porsena

The powerful king Lars Porsena returned to his palace in Chiusi after laying siege to and conquering Rome. He was at the height of his power and had begun thinking about death. So, he ordered a mausoleum to be built which was a wonder to behold at that time. Thousands of gold and silver bells hung from the majestic dome, ready to emit a sweet sound at the slightest breeze. But the basements were the real source of surprise with an immense labyrinth which led to a large room where his sarcophagus lay on a gold chariot. To animate the tomb, he also had five thousand chicks and a golden hen made which, according to the legend, wandered cheeping in the labyrinth. The workers who had taken part in the construction were sentenced to death to prevent them from revealing its secrets. Today, King Lars Porsena still sleeps his eternal sleep in this secret place even though an opening on the nights of a full moon allows the hen and her chicks to emerge into the countryside.
In Roman tradition, Lars Porsena is remembered as king of Chiusi and for his siege, prevented by heroic deeds like those of Gaius Mucius Scevola. In actual fact, Porsena had conquered Rome. There is a labyrinth below the city but it is a dense network of tunnels built to channel water.

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