Etruscans were one of the most important civilizations of the Mediterranean region. Become Indiana Jones for a few days on this Etruscan tour: discover Tarquinia necropolis and ancient cities
Trip in a nutshell - Etruscan tour : discover Tarquinia necropolis
- Ideal for: history buffs, nature lovers, families
- Highlights: Tarquinia (UNESCO World Heritage Site), cycling or horse-riding in unspolied Tuscia
- What you will learn: how to make pottery like Etruscans, the secrets of olive oil
- Local professional guide throughout your entire trip
- Length: 4 days, 3 nights
- Starts from Tarquinia and ends in Rome
- Transportation: self-drive or car and driver
- Accommodation and meals: family-run Agriturismo/hotels; typical meals at the farm or in traditional restaurants
- Price: starting from €1500 per person (based on a group of 4 people).
DESCRIPTION OF TOUR
There is little evidence of Etruscans if compared to those of the Greek and Roman civilizations which were contemporary to them and… they are almost all connected to the funerary world!
On this Etruscan tour, you will explore Tarquinia necropolis and become Indiana Jones for a few days!
You will discover a lot about the “living” world of Etruscans by exploring their tombs. In fact, they believed in life after death and therefore created their necropolis as a reflection of the world of the living.
Every time I visit archaeological sites and museums, I am amazed by the refinement and modernity of this now forgotten society!
On this Etruscan tour, you will discover the necropolis and the ancient cities of Southern Etruria. In fact, they were the most cultured and powerful metropolis of the Italian peninsula many centuries before the overwhelming power of Rome.
The history of a population of navigators who came into contact with all the Mediterranean civilizations.
The testimonies of their dominance on the seas are not present only in the funeral and artistic styles, but also in the names and mythology. In the Aeneid, Homer speaks of the myth of the Etruscan pirates who tried to kidnap Dionysus and as a punishment, the god transformed them into dolphins. But the name of the sea over which they ruled, between Tuscany, Latium, and Campania to the east and Corsica and Sardinia to the west is actually a meaningful name: tirreni, as a matter of fact, was the way the Greeks referred to them!
DAY 1 Admire the painted tombs of Tarquinia and make your own Etruscan pottery
Morning – Necropolis of Tarquinia
In the Necropolis of Tarquinia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will admire the unique ancient paintings. Tarquinia was one of the most important Etruscan cities and it is said that the god Tages personally came out of the ground to reveal the mysteries of religion to the peasant Tarconte. Furthermore, Tarquinia was the birthplace of two kings who ruled Rome in the 6th century BC.
In the Monterozzi necropolis, you can descend underground and admire dozens of painted tombs. The tombs depict scenes of life, hunting, and games, reproducing in detail the rich ornaments, clothing, and food. In essence, you will find a portrait of a jovial, wine- and music-loving society. For instance, fishing expeditions and banquets with women who were never second to their husbands. In fact, 26 centuries went by but some episodes of daily life are common to our society.
Time for lunch and then let’s make our own pottery!
Afternoon – Pottery Workshop
After seeing the depictions of vases and ceramic objects in the tombs, we will visit the museum to see the objects from the grave collections. But most importantly, we will be able to create pottery with our own hands!
A workshop in the heart of Tarquinia will allow us to experiment with the ancient techniques of crafting with clay, from the columbine to the potter’s wheel. A master will create the most characteristic forms of Greek and Etruscan art before our eyes, and then we can try our hand at working with clay. For instance, we will learn the “tricks” of the master craftsmen regarding plastic decoration: porcupine quills,
Shells and other small objects will be our tools. Finally, we will take advantage of ready-made vases to discover ancient painting techniques!
DAY 2 Explore a 3000 years’ old city and participate in olives’ harvesting
Morning – The ancient city of Vulci
This morning we will visit Vulci.
The ruins of the megalopolis are only partly excavated by archaeologists, many are still hidden under layers of soil. First, we will walk along with the paving stones of the decumanus maximus; secondly, we will admire the ruins of the Maximus Temple, dedicated to Minerva, and finally, we will descend to the river port that connected the city with the sea.
Vulci had 30,000 inhabitants in the 6th century BC, which is among the biggest cities of these times. Rome’s sixth king, Servius Tullius, was born here and he is remembered as a great reformer and innovator.
These ruins are set in an amazing landscape. In fact, the area of Vulci has remained almost unchanged over the millennia, with green countryside and steep tree-covered ravines.
As you walk around Vulci, you’ll understand exactly what it must have been like to live here three thousand years ago.
Afternoon – visit olive groves and harvesting
What did the Etruscans trade in to be so powerful? One of the most popular products was certainly oil. In fact, we know that the olive tree was widely cultivated in Etruria – remember the depictions on the tombs? We can assume that oil was mainly used for cosmetic purposes.
First, we will visit some magnificent olive groves where a PDO olive oil is produced, secondly, we will learn about modern care and harvesting techniques, and finally, we will move on to one of the oil mills to admire the machinery.
If you want to see the harvesting and processing “live” don’t forget to plan your trip between the end of September and the beginning of November!
DAY 3 Etruscan tour: the Barbarano Romano canyon and Blera
Morning – Barbarano Romano canyon
Southern Etruria is also known as Rupestrian Etruria. In fact, this area was far from the large Etruscan metropolises. we will discover sites of great charm, which have attracted the interest of travelers since ancient times, such as D.H. Lawrence and G. Dennis.
In the morning we will explore the necropolis of Barbarano Romano, a town that was contested between Ceri and Tarquinia. For almost a thousand years a village stood here, and the inhabitants transformed the steep tufa walls into elaborate and fascinating necropolises, now often hidden in the vegetation. For this reason, each step is a giant step forward. In fact, it testifies to the social and economic evolution of the village over time up to the Roman era. As we follow this path, we descend to the bottom of the canyon where lush streams flow and the wild vegetation hides the lower and more recent tombs.
We will stop here for lunch and then move to Blera.
Afternoon – Blera rock tombs and San Giovenale by horseback or bike
Blera is famous for its rock tombs, which are grouped together in charming little squares. In fact, there are dozens of tombs organized like a small town, with their false doors and all that remains of carved porticoes. A wild route will take you along the ancient Via Clodia, the most important communication route of pre-Roman antiquity. Furthermore, Blera has a unique treasure: San Giovenale. In fact, this is one of the three entirely Etruscan centers ever discovered in Italy,
We can get there on horseback or by bicycle and immerse ourselves in the unspoiled landscapes of Tuscia.
DAY 4 A walk in hell: a road carved into the high rock and visit the Etruscan museum in Rome
Morning – Cerveteri necropolis
Heading south we will find the southernmost of the large Etruscan coastal cities, Ceri – now known as Cerveteri. The necropolis of Banditaccia is one of the largest in ancient times, with hundreds of perfectly preserved tombs showing the evolution of the Etruscan city. First, we will visit the huge archaic tumuli, where the oldest burial chambers replicate simple huts. Finally, we will discover the most recent ones. These are excavated in the form of complex dwellings with carved ceilings and elaborate capitals.
The evolution of these tombs is reflected in the necropolis’ layout. In fact, we notice an initial spontaneous growth of large mounds, which then turn into carefully planned squares and perpendicular streets.
Outside the well-equipped necropolis is the so-called “via degli inferi”, an enormous street carved into the rock that is tens of meters deep and submerged by vegetation, overlooked by hundreds of rock tombs.
Afternoon – Cerveteri necropolis Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum
In the afternoon we will head to the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome
The National Etruscan Museum houses the most important artifacts from the archaeological excavations of the last two centuries.
The necropolis that we visited contained rich funerary objects that attest to the high social status of the deceased. Some of the artifacts have been lost, others are scattered in museums around the world.Luckily, the great masterpieces are all collected in the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia.
Here, as you stroll through the display cases, you will be able to admire gold jewelry made by the goldsmiths from Volterra, ceramic vases imported from Greece and finely crafted terracotta statues made by the excellent ceretan masters.
Time to say goodbye, the Etruscan tour: discover Tarquinia necropolis is coming to an end!
The program in detail – Etruscan tour: discover Tarquinia necropolis
This is an approximate schedule, exact times will be finalized and they might change during the trip.
– Day 1: Admire the painted tombs of Tarquinia and make your own Etruscan pottery
- 9,30 am meet in Tarquinia
- 9,30 – 12,00 pm visit Monterozzi necropilis
- 12.00- 1,30 pm transfer to Tarquinia and Archeological museum
- 2,30 -5,30 pm Etruscan ceramics workshop
- 5,30 – 6,30 pm stroll in Tarquinia historic center and stop for ice cream
- 6,30 – 7,30 pm travel to the hotel and visit Gravisca Etruscan harbor
- 7,30 pm check-in
- 8,30 pm Agriturismo dinner
– Day 2: Explore a 3000 years’ old city and participate in olives’ harvesting
- 9,30 am meet in Vulci
- 10,00 – 1,00 pm -visit Vulci park
- 1,30 pm pocket lunch in the park
- 2,30 – 4,30 pm visit Osteria necropolis and oriental necropolis ( Francois grave)
- 5,00 pm relax at the Vulci spa
- 7,30 pm dinner
- 8,30 pm walk in the lavender (available only in June)
– Day 3: Adventure in the canyon in Barbarano Romano
- 9,30 am meet in Barbarano Romano
- 9,30 -1,00 pm – hiking in San Giuliano necropolis
- 1,00 pm lunch
- 2,30 – 6,30 pm horse-riding or cycling in San Giovenale
- 7,00 pm apericena (aperitivo and dinner) in a typical wine cellar
- 9,00 pm return to hotel
– Day 4: A walk in hell: a road carved into the high rock and visit the Etruscan museum in Rome
- 10,00 am meet in Banditaccia necropolis
- 10,00 – 1,00 pm visit the necropolis
- 1,00 – 2,30 pm lunch in agriturismo
- 2,30 pm transfer to Rome
- 3,30- 6,00 pm visit the Etruscan National Museum in Villa Giulia
- 6,00 pm end of the tour
- Accommodation and breakfast: 3 nights in agriturismo / B&B / hotels 3 or 4 stars (based on double room occupancy)
- 3 meals (lunch / dinner)
- All the experiences mentioned in the program
- A local professional guide throughout your trip
- Pre-trip support and assistance during your trip
Is not included, but can be arranged
- Transportation throughout the tour
- Any other destination/experience not specified in the program
What to bring – useful info
- Pack one nicer outfit for evenings out (optional 😉)
- 1 light jacket or wrap
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Small daypack that’s comfortable to carry
- Water bottle