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Etruscan history around Vulci

Some archaeological sites and rituals of the ancient Etruscan civilisation to visit in the Latium Maremma area for a tour of art and culture.

VULCI NATURAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK
A must-see in the Latium Maremma area is the Vulci archaeological park, considered among the most important in Europe, where you can discover the remains of the ancient Etruscan-Roman city of Vulci. Also inside the archaeological site is the Abbadia Castle, built in medieval times (12th century) by Cistercian monks and an important stronghold and reception centre for pilgrims.

Access is through the imposing Devil’s Bridge, a name given by the population because – according to the belief of the time – only the devil was capable of building a bridge with such high and wide arches.

But what makes this place truly unique is the beauty of the surrounding nature. Walking through canyons carved out of volcanic rock, waterfalls and valleys, one can encounter numerous species of animals, including the famous Maremma cows and wild horses. For the lucky ones, it is also possible to meet the butteri, better known as the cowboys of the Maremma, who still practise their traditional art of cattle handling.

In conclusion, the Vulci Nature and Archaeological Park is an unmissable stop for all those who want to discover the history and nature of the Latium Maremma. The beauty of the archaeological site and the majesty of the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) blend perfectly with the unspoilt nature, creating a unique and unforgettable experience.

 

Distance from Terme di Vulci: 10 km

Journey time: 15 minutes

 

THE ETRUSCAN NECROPOLIS OF TARQUINIA

The necropolis of Tarquinia, also known as Monterozzi, is 30 minutes from the Terme di Vulci and contains 6,000 rock-cut tombs. At 130 hectares, it is the largest complex known. The extraordinary series of painted tombs represents the most prestigious nucleus of the Tarquinia necropolis and was defined by the father of Etruscology Massimo Pallottino as ‘the first chapter in the history of Italian painting’. In fact, these paintings represent the only important testimony of pre-Roman classical art existing in the Mediterranean basin.

The painted tombs, dated between the 7th and 3rd century B.C., have been divided into different groups according to their style and iconography. Some of the most famous tombs and a must-see are the Tomb of the Leopards, the Tomb of the Jugglers and the Tomb of the Ogre.

  • The Tomb of the Leopards, dated to the 5th century B.C., is one of the largest and most impressive in the necropolis of Tarquinia. Its name derives from the depictions of two leopards on the back wall. Other scenes painted inside the tomb include a funeral banquet, a perfume offering and a funeral dance.
  • The Tomb of the Jugglers, dated to the 4th century BC, features scenes of acrobats, dancers and jugglers painted in vivid colours. This tomb is considered one of the best examples of Hellenistic art in the necropolis.
  • Finally, the Tomb of the Ogre, dated to the 3rd century B.C., is decorated with scenes of the underworld and the judgement of the dead. One of the most famous scenes depicts the god Cerberus, the three-headed dog that protects the entrance to hell.

The beauty and uniqueness of the tomb paintings have made this site one of the most important in the world for understanding Etruscan history and art. If you are in the Maremma area of Latium, this fascinating archaeological complex is definitely worth a visit.

 

Distance from Terme di Vulci: 40 km

Travelling time: 35 minutes

 

THE QUEEN’S CLEFT

The Spacco della Regina is located next to the Tagliata Etrusca, at the foot of the south-eastern slope of the Ansedonia hill in the Maremma area of Latium. The Tagliata is what remains of a Roman hydraulic operation used to optimise the flow of water. Next door is the Spacco della Regina: a natural cleft in the rock that was used to celebrate religious rites.

Once past the dark entrance, for which we recommend you bring a torch, you will arrive at an evocative place that has given rise to many legends.

The deep silence, the light penetrating the vegetation above and the narrow rock walls create an uncommon suggestion that is undoubtedly worth experiencing.

Not surprisingly, this place has inspired many artists, poets and writers who have found the source of many of their works here. The Spacco della Regina is a treasure, absolutely worth visiting, that nature has bestowed on humanity and that should be preserved and protected forever.

 

Distance from Terme di Vulci: 46 km

Journey time: 35 minutes