Vetulonia Town: A Dive into Etruscan History

For centuries, Vetulonia Town was shrouded in mystery and legend. Mentioned in ancient texts as one of the powerful cities of the Etruscan Dodecapolis, it seemed to have disappeared without a trace. Dionysius of Halicarnassus mentioned Vetulonia as an ally of the Latins against Rome in the seventh century B.C., while Silio Italicus recounted how Rome had taken symbols of power, such as the fasces lictorius and the saddle curule, from Vetulonia. However, despite these citations, no tangible evidence of its existence had ever been found.

This changed in the 19th century. During archaeological excavations in Cerveteri between 1840 and 1846, the base of the statue of Claudius was discovered, on which were depicted three deities symbolizing the peoples of Vulci, Tarquinia and Vetulonia. In 1880, physician and archaeologist Isidoro Falchi found ancient coins and leftovers that suggested the presence of the ancient city. After years of excavation, the findings confirmed that Colonna di Buriano and Vetulonia were the same city. On July 22, 1887, King Umberto I of Italy officially reassigned the ancient name of Vetulonia to Colonna di Buriano.

Vetulonia Town Today: A Village of the Maremma

Today, Vetulonia is a charming village in Maremma, near Marina di Grosseto. It offers visitors a unique experience, combining natural beauty and a rich historical legacy. The village, with its narrow streets and ancient stone houses, creates a charming and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for a walk between history and nature.

The Main Attraction: The Archaeological Area

Vetulonia is famous for its archaeological area, one of the most significant testimonies of Etruscan civilization. Excavations have unearthed numerous monumental tombs, ancient roads and remains of buildings. The Via dei Sepolcri, for example, leads visitors through a series of Etruscan tombs, offering a fascinating look at the funerary practices and daily life of the ancient Etruscans.

The Charm of the Village: Between History and Tradition

Walking through the streets of Vetulonia, visitors can explore craft stores and taste typical Maremma products. The village is an ideal starting point for exploring the surrounding hills, which offer breathtaking views and hiking opportunities. Vetulonia also hosts cultural events and historical re-enactments that celebrate its Etruscan heritage, making every visit an unforgettable experience.

The Walls of the Arce: An Archaeological Heritage

The Arce Walls of Vetulonia are one of the most fascinating vestiges of Etruscan civilization. Located at the highest part of the village, these cyclopean walls, built of huge polygonal blocks of stone, date from the city’s heyday. Originally, the walls enclosed an area of about 16 hectares, protecting the city and its riches from invaders.

The Structure of the Cyclopean Walls

The Cyclopean Walls are known for their grandeur and construction technique, using huge boulders embedded without mortar. This type of construction conferred great strength and reflected the engineering skills of the Etruscans. In addition to their defensive function, the walls had an important symbolic value, representing the strength and prosperity of Vetulonia.

The Historical and Cultural Significance of the Walls

The walls not only protected the city but also highlighted its political and economic prestige. Their elevated position allowed them to control the surrounding area. Today, the walls are a place of great interest to visitors, offering breathtaking panoramic views from the hills of the Maremma to the sea.

The Civic Archaeological Museum of Vetulonia Town

The Civic Archaeological Museum of Vetulonia is a must-see for those wishing to learn more about the Etruscan city. Located near the Arce walls, the museum houses exceptionally valuable artifacts. Among the most significant pieces are the stele of the warrior Aule Feluske and gold jewelry from the Lancetti Collection.

Events and Temporary Exhibitions

The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that explore various aspects of Etruscan and Roman civilization. The museum is also very active in promoting culture and archaeology through educational workshops, guided tours and special events.

The Monumental Etruscan Tombs

The Via dei Sepolcri in Vetulonia represents one of the most fascinating routes to explore Etruscan history. This route leads to the monumental tombs located at the foot of the hill.

The Tomb of the Belvedere and the Tomb of the Pietrera

The Tomb of the Belvedere, dating back to the 7th century B.C., and the Tomb of the Pietrera, famous for the Pietrera statue, are among the most important. These tombs offer a glimpse into the artistic techniques and funerary beliefs of the Etruscans. .

The Basolato Road and the Masonic Structures

The archaeological areas of Costia dei Lippi and Costa Murata offer a fascinating insight into the Etruscan and Roman urbanism of Vetulonia.

The Basolata Road

The basolato road is an outstanding example of Etruscan and Roman road engineering. Walking along this ancient road, visitors can imagine the daily life of the inhabitants of Vetulonia.

The Wall Structures

Accompanying the paved road are numerous walled structures that delineated the living and commercial spaces of the city, offering a vivid picture of Etruscan society.

Among Ancient Tombs at Pozzetto and Fossa

The hills surrounding Vetulonia are home to numerous tombs, including the well and pit tombs, which represent the oldest forms of burial.

Well Tombs of the ninth century BC.

The pozzetto tombs, dating from the 9th century B.C.E., reflect the funerary practices of the Etruscans during the Iron Age. These simple burials offer important clues about the daily habits and religious beliefs of the Etruscans.

The Tombs at Fossa in Vetulonia Town

Fossa tombs, which developed in later periods, are larger and more elaborate, and often contain a larger number of grave goods, indicating the growing affluence of the Etruscan community.

The Roselle Archaeological Area

A few kilometers from Vetulonia, the archaeological area of Roselle offers another fascinating stop. Founded in the 7th century B.C., Roselle was a prosperous and well-organized urban center.

The Ruins of Roselle: A Journey through Time

The ruins of Roselle include the Roman forum, theater and baths, offering a glimpse into the daily life of the inhabitants. A visit to Roselle enriches the discovery of Vetulonia, allowing a broader picture of Etruscan history in the Maremma.

An Unforgettable Visit to Vetulonia Town

Reaching Vetulonia from RTA Pineta Azzurra is quick and easy, located just a 20-minute drive from Marina di Grosseto. The well-preserved cyclopean walls, the tombs of the Via dei Sepolcri, and the Civic Archaeological Museum are just some of the wonders that await visitors. Vetulonia’s proximity makes it easy to organize a day trip, exploring both the archaeological areas and the surrounding natural beauty. Do not miss the opportunity to explore this hidden treasure and immerse yourself in the rich history of Etruscan civilization.