Did you know that in all likelihood the Etruscan language is not Indo-European and that it is read from right to left? And that in the fifth century B.C.E. Felsina (contemporary Bologna) was the most important city in Northern Italy and had intensive trade relations with the Athens of Pericles? And that Etruscan cities were the first to employ the cardo-and-decumanus road pattern (two perpendicular lines), that Romans adopted only much later? Etruscans have left behind many relics and DNA traces (as shown by recent research), but many other things as well, such as the conviviality of the symposium, equal treatment of women, diviners’ wisdom, and private landownership. Over the last century, the unearthing of paleo-Etruscan burial grounds in Northern Italy has led to new discoveries, such as the fact that this fascinating population of mysterious origins also inhabited the Po Valley. The author leads the reader along a path that winds through Spina, along the valleys of Comacchio, Padanian Etruria (Marzabotto and Bologna), other major centres (such as Verucchio, Volterra, Tarquinia, Cerveteri), Etruscan Rome and, especially, Vulci – a visit to which is a pleasure everyone should experience.
Valerio Massimo Manfredi is an archaeologist and writer who has taught at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Venice, the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, the Sorbonne in Paris, and other prestigious higher education institutions.