Brief history of Florence
8 Giugno 2011
Brunelleschi’s dome
8 Giugno 2011

The Etruscans

A mysterious people

Let’s talk about the Etruscans in just 8 questions and answers!

1) Who were the Etruscans?

People who preceded the Romans, on the Italian land. Big navigators. Also shepherds, who lived in “city-state”. Great engineers, expert in the water and drainage system.

2) Where were they from?

Their origin is still uncertain, but they first show up in Italy in the 9th century B.C.

3) Where did they live and settle, most of all?

More or less in a geographical area that now corresponds to Tuscany, (particularly in the Chianti area), part of Umbria, the south of Liguria and the north of the Lazio region. So, the area of the today central Italy, delimitated by the Apennines.

4) Why they chose to live in Tuscany?

  • For the fertility of the soil.
  • It is where they found and discovered many sources of water.
  • The presence of lots of hills, where they generally lived.

Living on top of the hills, not only they had the big advantage of feeling more protected against any enemy, having this way a natural defence, but also it was a healthier position to live on.

5) Can we still see and enjoy sites done by the Etruscans, in our Tuscany tours?

Yes! If we just think that they “invented” the city-state ( which was also the main reason why they were easily conquered by the Romans) in practically all the Tuscany cities (especially in the Chianti area), villages and so on we can understand how and why they were originally founded there by the Etruscans.

Also, as they transformed lots of sources of water (that they discovered) in very healthy thermal baths, there are enchanting little villages in Tuscany still today where we can enjoy an unbelievable surprise on this purpose…This is part of the “tour of the water” that we can enjoy with a Tuscany tour coming from Rome ( read more…),
or simply when we already are in Tuscany.

6) When and why they disappeared?

In the 3rd century B.C., with the battle of Veio, the Romans conquered the last Etruscan city still existing. Afterwards, the Etruscans were completely assimilated by the Romans.  Then, in 27 B.C, with the Emperor Caesar Augustus, they are mentioned as a simple region of Rome  ( “Etruria”, 7th region of Roman Italy).

7) Is there anything done by the Etruscans in Rome?

Yes! For example, the sewers, the first drainage system ( the so called: “claoca maxima”) was made in 616 B.C. by the 5th king of the ancient Rome, the Etruscan Tarquinio Prisco, and it still works perfectly today!

Moreover, the symbol of Rome, the famous “she-wolf”: one of the oldest bronze statues in the world, which goes back to the 5th century B.C., which we can see in the Capitoline Museums of Rome. It was probably made by an Etruscan artist, Vulca. Then, for people particularly interested, the Etruscan Museum in the Vatican Museums and, even a whole museum dedicated to them: the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome Italy.

8) How about them in Florence? Anything left by them?

The most important “piece” is probably the Etruscan bronze statue which is in the archeological museum of Florence Italy, the so called “chimera d’Arezzo”.


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