The Etruscans

The Etruscans, in Maremma, left three extraordinary cities, Populonia, Roselle and Vetulonia, and the fascinating archaeological sites of the so-called Tufo Area: Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano.

Etruria in 750 BC – The ancient region of central Italy inhabited by the Etruscans, including today’s Maremma Toscana

The Maremma, for the Etruscans, was an area of great strategic value and, thanks to this noble people, acquired an economic importance for the whole Mediterranean basin. After prevailing over the Umbrian, built several cities (almost all inside, except Populonia which was the port of arrival and transformation of the iron ore from Elba) and started there exploitation of mines, the Etruscans were the first to try to give a hydrological arrangement to the marshes of the Maremma and to improve agricultural conditions with the first hill terraces and other forms of soil protection. But above all fundamental was the exploitation of the mineral resources of the Island of Elba and the Metalliferous Hills (tin was found in Campiglia Marittima, copper, silver, lead, zinc in the surroundings of Massa Marittima). Even today we can recognize the remains of the ancient ovens (the area of Madonna di Fucinaia, near Campiglia Marittima, on the Etruscan Coast) and the accumulations of metal waste along the coast of the Gulf of Follonica. All around you can recognize the ancient Etruscan mines: small wells, with a very narrow opening in which the workers were lowered with ropes, and deep and narrow tunnels (30 cm wide) still polished and smoothed by the passage of the bodies. The Tuscan Maremma and the Etruscans, Lords of Maremma, are an indissoluble combination, thanks above all to the characteristics of a territory that still today has a lot to show about this civilization.

Etruscan helmet – Tomba dei Flabelli – Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia

Etruscans – The Origins

The Etruscans, skilled merchants and sophisticated artisans of ceramics and gold, are remembered for their industriousness, artistic flair and ability in managing maritime traffic in the Mediterranean. A fascinating and mysterious civilization due to its still dubious origins, it spread to the Italian peninsula at the dawn of the Iron Age, starting from the 10th-9th century BC. The first settlements were in the Po Valley, Tuscany, Upper Lazio and Campania. Some (conflicting) hypotheses on their provenance have already been proposed by ancient historians. According to Dionysius of Alicarnassus (or Dionysus) the Etruscans were a indigenous people, originally from the place. Herodotus instead tells of people from Lydia who, due to a terrible famine, took the sea route from the lands of Asia Minor in the wake of the brave Tyrrhenian leader. “in search of a country to live in” and finally landed on the Italian peninsula. In the most famous Etruscan cities of the Maremma such as Populonia, Roselle, Vetulonia, Sorano, Sovana, Pitigliano and Ghiaccio Forte Many material testimonies have emerged that give us the image of a cultured, aristocratic and industrious civilization, whose fame in the sixth century. B.C. “it had filled not only the lands, but also the sea along Italy, from the Alps to the Strait of Sicily”, as the historian writes Livio. The love for art and beauty, the dedication to trade and the inclination to peace did not, however, contribute to creating a strong internal cohesion, the only one capable of guaranteeing resistance against the powerful and well-organized Roman legions. The Etruscans fell under the dominion of Rome with the capture of Veii, in 396 BC.

Resources on the Etruscans in Maremma

  • Read also: Archeology – The first inhabitants of the Maremma, the finds, the Archaeological and Art Museum of the Maremma.