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Vetulonia, landscape
Photo © LigaDue
Photo © LigaDue

A walk through the ancient Vetulonia

From the Etruscan residential quarter to the Necropolis

If you are spending your holiday in Maremma, you could decide to visit the Etruscan Archaeological Area in Vetulonia, just 10 minutes' inland from the coast. The ancient city is just below the modern small town, which was established in the Middle Ages and now counts 200 residents, more or less. The visit takes less than 2 hours and it's divided into three parts.

Vetulonia, merchants tanks
Vetulonia, merchants tanks - Credit: Louis Garden
Vetulonia tomb
Vetulonia tomb - Credit: Marco Buggio

Vetulonia was one of the most important cities in ancient Etruria. There are traces of settlement starting from the 9th century BCE. The city walls, constructed out of massive blocks, date to the 6th or 5th century BCE. The first part of the archaeological area to visit is the residential quarter, dating to the late period of Roman domination (3d century BCE). On one side of the road are homes or storefronts; on the other side are wells and drainage channels.

In 2009 archeologists unearthed Domus dei Dolia, named after the large jars (Dolia) found in its rooms, standing next to amphore for wine and oil. There people can see very clearly the intact terracotta pot that is built into the basement of this house.

 

 Across the street from the ticket office there's a metal gate and stairs that allow you to see clearly the large Etruscan wall (the massive blocks are laid without mortar) that once protected the city.

 

The "road of the tombs", which pre-date the city, is 1,8 kilometers from there (it's better if you travel by car). One tomb sits at the intersection; others are a further 800 meters down on a dirt road which you can either walk or drive. There is the Tomb of the Diavolino, a tumulous tomb preceded by a long corridor.

The Isidoro Falchi Archaeology Museum up in town contains the findings from these necropolis including jewellery and imported Greek ceramics.

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