There has been a noticeable increase in interest over the last few years towards the people who once populated the greater part of Tuscany and northern Lazio - the Etruscans.
At first glance they seem to have played just a minor role in classical history, keeping the fields tilled until the inevitable arrival of the Romans, but the more you read the more you discover that this superstitious people were fundamental for the path Roman life and culture eventually took.
For example, the Etruscans provided many of Rome's soothsayers and spiritual men and the Romans even stole the idea of gladiatorial combats and the 'games' from them.
The word 'mundus' is of Etruscan origin and refers to the place where the soul returns following death.
The Etruscans were never a united people, however, but more a loose federation of independent townships who came together once a year to discuss common issues. This was to prove their downfall as they had no real strategy for preventing Roman conquest.
They also fatally believed that the Etruscan people would last a set number of centuries. As that moment approached, fear and riga mortis set in and the prophecy was self fulfilled.
There are many Etruscan settlements in Italy and they include Sutri, Orvieto, Montefiascone and perhaps the most significant Tarquinia near Lake Bolsena.
There are many Etruscan tombs all over Tuscany and Lazio worth visiting. The most stunning necropolis is at Cerveteri off the main road to Civitavecchia. Many of the tombs remain undisturbed.
The detailed itinerary below is designed to pass through every main centre of Etruscan life and activity across central Italy and starting and ending in Rome.
Your Etruscan Itinerary
- Start at Roma: Via Cassia SS2 to Veio
- Back to Cassia SS2, then Gran Raccordo Anulare (GRA) to Via Aurelia
- SS1 to Cerveteri Aurelia SS1 to Tarquinia
- Aurelia SS1, strada 312 to Vulci
- Aurelia SS1 to Cosa (Ansedonia), then Argentario (Orbetello, strada 440)
- Aurelia SS1 (until Albinia), then Sovana and Saturnia
- Strada 332 to Scansano and the via dei Vini in direction of Montiano
- Aurelia SS1 to Fonteblanda and Talamone
- Aurelia SS1 to Parco dell'Uccellina then to Marina di Alberese
- Aurelia SS1 to Ventulonia Aurelia SS1, strada 398 to Populonia
- Aurelia SS1 (direction Cecina), strada 68 to Volterra
- Strada 68 to San Gimignano
- direction Poggibonsi, via Cassia SS2 to Florence
- Cassia SS2 to Siena
- Cassia SS2 to Montalcino
- Cassia SS2, strada 146 to Pienza strada 146 to Montepulciano
- strada 146 to Chiusi
- strada 71 (Lago Trasimeno) to Cortona
- strada 71, super strada to Perugia
- strada 75, Santa Maria degli Angeli to Assisi
- strada 75, strada 3b to Deruta
- strada 3b to Todi strada 448 (Lago di Corbara)
- strada 205 to Orvieto
- Autostrada A1 to Rome S.S.3 Flaminia
- strada 311 to Civita Castellana, Falerii Novi
- Back to strada 311, direction Nepi.
- S.S.2 Cassia to Rome