Who were the Etruscans?
A lot of people ask that, so let's start by saying that without them Rome would never have been born. On this tour, you’ll get to learn some amazing facts about the Etruscans during a visit to two of their burial sites – the Necropolis of Tarquinia and the Necropolis of Cerveteri.
This was the Iron Age. No one knows exactly where the Etruscans came from, but bronze and clay pots they brought with them had similar features as ones from Asia Minor. But whoever they were and wherever they came from, they brought civilisation to Italy. They brought knowledge of the arts, architecture, warfare and religion, money, metal work, writing, engineering, hydraulics and navigation. They planted the first olive trees and grapevines in Italy, and they developed Rome from a small village to an Etruscan port on the River Tiber. The name ‘Roma’ is from the Etruscan word ‘rume’ that means river.
Almost everything we know about them comes from the ruins of their tombs, the Etruscan necropolis. Some of the tombs are monumental, cut into the rock and topped by impressive burial mounds known as tumuli. Most are highly decorated with either paintings or wall carvings of remarkable quality. The necropolis near Cerveteri has thousands of tombs; some are carved in the shape of huts or houses, unbelievable constructions. These tombs are organised into neighbourhoods, a city-like plan with streets and small squares. Incredibly, the necropolis of Tarquinia is home to 6,000 graves cut in the rock and 200 painted tombs, the earliest of which date from the 7th century BC.
Interested to learn more? Why not join us.