Mario Torelli (May 12, 1937 – September 15, 2020) was an Italian scholar of Italic archaeology and the culture of the Etruscans. He taught at the University of Perugia.
Torelli was born in Rome, Italy. He was trained by the art historian Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli as well as by Massimo Pallottino. Torelli completed his laurea degree at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" in November of 1960, writing a thesis on the site of Falerii Veteres.
He held many posts during his professional life, beginning as an assistant at the center for ancient art history in Rome (1960–1962), followed by a stint as archaeological inspector of the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome (1964–1969). He was appointed a professor of Greek and Roman art history at the University of Cagliari in 1969, and served in that position until 1973. He was also instrumental in the excavations of the sanctuary at the site of Gravisca. Torelli joined the faculty of the University of Perugia in 1975; he was appointed as full professor (professore ordinario) of Archaeology and the History of Greek and Roman Art on 1 November 1976. His position was supplemented with appointments that included the areas of Magna Graecia (1995-2000) and Etruscan and Italic Archaeology (from 2000).During his long archaeological career, Torelli directed and supervised a number of archaeological excavations. These included work on the Etruscan sanctuary of Menerva at Santa Marinella (1964-1966), the Etruscan sanctuary of the Porta Caere at Veii (1966-1969), the Greek mercantile sanctuary of Gravisca (1969-1979), the extra-urban sanctuary of Aphrodite-Venus at Paestum (1982-1985), and excavations at Heraclea that included the sanctuary of Demeter (1985-1986) and the agora (1987-1991).
He was a visiting professor at a number of institutions, including; University of Colorado at Boulder (1974); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (1978); University of California, Irvine (1979); École Normale Supérieure de Rue d’Ulm in Paris (1984); Université de Paris I – Sorbonne (1985); Collège de France (1986); University of Alberta, Canada (1986); Nellie Wallace lecturer at Oxford (1988), and University of Bristol (1993). In the fall semester of 1982 Torelli was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles in 1990–1991. In 1992 he delivered the Thomas Spencer Jerome lecture at the University of Michigan with the topic "Roman Historical Reliefs: The Structure and Shaping of Ancient Attitudes", which resulted in the publication of a typological study of Roman historical relief sculpture.He was a member of the Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut, and a member of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Etruschi in Florence. In 2013 Torelli received an honorary doctoral degree honoris causa from the Universidad de Jaén. On September 8, 2014, Torelli was awarded the Balzan Prize for Classical archaeology. Giorgio Napolitano, then president of the Republic of Italy, presented Torelli with the award in Rome on November 20, 2014. The citation praises the "innovative character" of Torelli's work and his deep commitment to archaeology. Torelli died in Donnalucata di Scicli (Ragusa), Sicily.