Who were the Etruscans? They were an ancient civilization that emerged from the Iron Age as early as 900 BC on the land that is now central Italy. They eventually controlled a fairly large chunk of territory, traded with The Celts to the north and the Greeks to the south. They had their own language (still not fully deciphered), culture, governmental structures, and coinage.
Empires come and go, and the Etruscans were fully absorbed by the Roman Empire in 27 BC.We can still appreciate their tombs, thousands of which were discovered between the 1870s, when a farmer plowing his field allegedly fell into one, and the 1960s. We climbed down narrow stairways into five or ten of the dozens that have been made accessible by archaeologists under little huts like this one.
The frescoes on the walls and ceilings retain remarkably fresh colors,
We also took in the magnificent views.
Mauro then drove us to the ancient walled city of Tarquinia, home of the world-class National Archaeological Museum of Tarquinia. There we viewed pottery (with apparent Greek influences), jewelry, and household items from ladles to incense burners.
Oh, and a lot of sarcophagi…
We also were able to view the walls and ceilings of actual tombs that have been moved into the museum and housed in an enclosed space.
We could have easily spent an entire day in the museum but there was more to see, and Mauro took us for a walk around Tarquinia, originally an Etruscan city.
As a small thank-you to Mauro, we invited him to lunch in his choice of restaurants. He drove us back to Civitavecchia and we shared an outstanding meal at Taverna Dell Olmo Ristorante, the Elm Tavern Restaurant.
We started with an amuse bouche.
We finished with a variety of pasta dishes and managed a little sharing.
A bottle of crisp Pinot Grigio complemented the seafood nicely. The service was impeccable yet friendly. Our total bill was just over a hundred bucks all-in, a bargain for such a beautiful meal.
After that late and satisfying lunch, we said Grazie and Ciao to Mauro, and relaxed at our apartment for a couple of hours. We then ventured downtown on our own passeggiare, the traditional Italian stroll.
We had time to nurse a glass of wine and do some people watching.
Another bella giornate in Civitavecchia comes to a close as we send our way back up the hill.