The Etruscans inhabited Etruria (a region in central Italy) until the third century BC when the Romans took over. They had created a civilisation complete with their own culture, religion, and writing system, so they were already well advanced even before the Romans appeared.
On our escorted tour, you will discover the secrets and mysteries of this pre-Roman community and uncover the long-forgotten past of the Etruscan world. Here are some of the tour’s highlights:
The Crocifisso Del Tufo Necropolis
The Crocifisso Del Tufo Necropolis is located in Orvieto, which is a fantastic place to imagine what Etruscan civilisation was like in its prime. Once the central hub of the community, the city is now home to the remains of a cemetery dating back to the sixth century BC. The ancient chamber-tombs are organised into a patterned grid and grouped into blocks – an unusual insight into Etruscan life.
Inside the tombs you will find inscriptions revealing first names and family names of the deceased; a clear example of the elaborate written mode of communication that the Etruscans had developed. In my opinion, this ‘City of the Dead’ is one of the tour’s most eye-opening attractions as it exposes various examples of the sophisticated way of life that had been established before the Romans.
Vulci and the Archaeological Park
Vulci was one of the richest and most powerful Etruscan cities with a vast history involving politics, agriculture and technology. Now, its Naturalistic Park boasts all manner of historic wonders from the famous François tomb to the Badia Castle.
The tour will take you around the Etruscan and Roman remains before leaving you free to explore the stunning countryside complete with a natural river and a historic bridge. The park provides the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch while learning about the city’s economic and political past.
The Temple and Tombs at Veii
Towards the end of the tour you will explore Veii, another thriving Etruscan city. Among its remains are those of the Portonaccio Temple, which was once a magnificent building dedicated to Menerva (the goddess of war, art, wisdom and medicine), and adorned with intricate sculptures.
Here you will also visit tombs dating back to the seventh century BC. This is yet another unmissable cultural experience since the ‘area scoperta’ design of these tombs is unique to Veii – steps lead down to an open space that is surrounded by niches. The intricacy and grandeur of this design may have been a result of Veii’s prosperity since it was known to have better trade connections than other cities.
A separate tomb in the area, constructed between 680 and 660 BC, displays some of the earliest Etruscan wall paintings. The fact that they are still visible today is simply incredible.