Tomb Tour

Prior to the Roman’s turning all warlike and conquering three-quarters of the Mediterranean, the Etruscans had an empire in central Italy in what is now parts Tuscany and Lazio. The Etruscan civilization started in roughly the eighth century BCE and lasted until the third century BCE, when they were one of Rome’s early conquests. But for five centuries the Etruscans were top dogs in the region.

This era of Italian history is something we have yet to explore – untill now we’ve focused the majority of our many trips to Italy on the Roman, middle-age and Rennasance eras. This motivated us to take a vacation in the Tarquinia area and check out the bits of Etruria that were left unmolested by Rome.

Much of what survived seems to have been stashed in the tombs of the Etruscan upper class. The tombs are famous for the frescos lining their walls. The tombs preserved in the Necropoli de Tarquinia have been excavated and have partially intact frescos.

Etruscan Tomb, Tarquinia

The tombs are empty – whatever they contained has been transferred to museums such as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Tarquinia, where you’ll find a collection of 4th-century BCE sarcophagi from the tombs and a fascinating collection Etruscan artifacts.

A fair amount of Greek pottery has been found in Etruscan archeology sites. The Etruscans apparently traded with the Greeks.

Greek Pottery

The city of Tarquinia, like many, is built on a hilltop. One has no trouble finding spots that overlook the nearby countryside.

View from Tarquinia

And of course the old city center (Centro Storico) has narrow cobblestone streets, piazze, restaurants and shops.


Near the city center we found this statue. It’s modern not Etruscan. 😁


For the next few days we’re staying in a bed-and-breakfast located on a working farm near the Mediterranian coast. It’s a rural area, so rather than relying on trains and buses as we normally would, we rented a car for the duration of the trip. There’s a tradeoff in renting a car – one can get around much better in rural areas, but the car becomes a p.i.t.a. when traveling in cities, where public transportation works so well and parking is hard to find.






2 responses to “Tomb Tour”

  1. rushenge

    Nice overview. Thanks Mike.

  2. rushenge

    Thanks Mike. Nice overview.

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