The lost world of the Etruscans
Etruscan sites in Italy
Written with love by Elena
The Etruscans were the first great civilization of the Italian peninsula. In fact, they were wealthy, expert navigators, and art lovers. Unfortunately, Etruscan left very little evidence compared to the Greeks and Romans. Yet they were one of the powers of the Tyrrhenian Sea, dominating naval routes for centuries. The oldest and most powerful Etruscan cities are not in Tuscany, but in Lazio: Cerveteri, Tarquinia, and Vulci were proper metropolises, many centuries before Rome became an empire.
I am an expert on Etruscan civilization and I live in Northern Lazio. In the past 10 years, I shared my passion with travelers from across the world. Here are my favorite Etruscan sites in Italy.
Cerveteri, Tarquinia and Vulci
In Cerveteri, you will walk through an extensive and long-standing necropolis, where huge royal mounds give way to burial grounds organized in streets and squares that always reproduce the homes of the living in their funerary architecture.
At Tarquinia you will immerse yourself in a lively and colorful world, visiting painted tombs depicting detailed scenes of life in perfect condition. For example, hunting and fishing scenes, and games and joyful banquets. Finally, you will see frescoes of blue-skinned demons from hell.
Finally, in Vulci, you will walk through the ruins of a megalopolis dating back to the 7th century BC, in a landscape that has changed very little over the millennia.
More Etruscan sites and the Villa Giulia Museum
In addition to these large Etruscan cities, there are smaller sites in Upper Lazio. For instance, the necropolis of Norchia and Castel d’Asso, are in beautiful natural settings and not so crowded. These sites enchanted travelers like Lawrence and Dennis.
And at the Villa Giulia museum in Rome, you can admire world-famous gold, bronze, and sculptures made by skilled Etruscan craftsmen.
Traveling to Italy? Discover our Etruscan tour. We will visit the sights, attend a pottery workshop, harvest olives and ride our bikes (or horses) in the countryside.