History Travels with Nancy Padgett: Seeing History
The Etruscans: Their  City-States 

Map of Etruscan Cities

Map of Etruscan Territory, 500 BC

Map of Etruscan Cities (wait for pins to load).

For a larger map with more details, click here: Etruscan City-States Details

1600 BC Etruscans emerge
750-500 Expand into center of Italy and then to north and south
600-400 Glory Days: height of wealth and power
500-100 Defeats by Greeks in S. Italy, by Romans in center, and by Gauls in the North. End of Etruscan power and wealth.

Etruscan Expansion: Color Codes

original Etruscan city-states, c 750 BC.

expansion to the north, 700-600 BC

expansion to the south, 700-600 BC

Corsica, now part of France.

Etruscan City-States

The Etruscans lived in a loose group of hilltop settlements and other villages that shared a common language that was not Latin.  About 30 of varying sizes are known.

Twelve may have gathered together in a League of Etruscan Cities. Which twelve is not all that clear.

In modern times, Rome in its early days is characterized as "Etruscan" because a group of Etruscan kings may have ruled there. Certainly they brought Etruscan engineering and artistry to early Rome: the giant sewage system known as the Cloaca Maxima, and a temple over 65 yards long on the top of the Capitoline hill.

Etruscan cities show some measure of central urban planning. Streets are laid out in north-south grid patterns. The Etruscans built reliable water supplies and covered drains. Shrines and temples would have been placed on a town's acropolis. Here the influence of the Greek city ends: the Etruscans had no public meeting place like a piazza or agora. They also had no democracy.

An Etruscan "city-state" was not large, but it was more than a village.  It usually included a hinterland of outlying peoples and villages in addition to its urban nucleus.

-Some cities have completely vanished over time. 

-Some can be located but are buried under the debris of the centuries.

-Others thrive today as modern Italian towns.

Only a few of the surviving ancient sites have artifacts: their tombs and town walls. Not easy to cart these off to private collectors or to museums.
 Name Today Roman/Etruscan Name Notes
Arezzo Arretium Known for its bronze armament manufacturing and red clay pottery.
Cerveteri Caere Key city. Today: Site worth a visit
Chiusi Clusium 5th c BCE tomb remains.
Cortona Cortona A few artifacts at Etruscan Museum and Archeological Park.
Fiesole Faesulae Remnants of Etruscan walls
Orvieto or Bolsena Volsinii, Velzna Key city. Headed Etruscan League in 5th c BCE. The National Archeological Museum of Orvieto has an excellent English web site: Orvieto National Museum
Perugia Perusia The National Archeological Museum of Perugia contains the Perugia stone and tour itinerary. The Stone is one of the longest extant inscriptions in the Etruscan language. Same Web site as above for Orvieto.
Populonia Populonia, Pupluna, Fufluna The only large Etruscan city directly on the sea. Center of smelting of copper, silver, and iron ores from the nearby island of Elba. First city in Etruria to coin silver.
Tarquinia Tarquinii Key city. Worth a visit. Famous for beauty of its wall paintings in tombs.
Vetulonia area (incl. Roselle
Grosseto, Cosa)
Vetulonia,Vatl  A few tombs, necropolis, park and a Museum.
Veii. Town abandoned; site remains. Veii Key city. Worth a visit. Known for terra cotta sculptures.  Has the oldest painted Etruscan tomb is in Veii, The Tomb of the Ducks, c 650 BCE. 
Volci Vulci Key city. Known for its art. Good Web site for its Museum and Archeological Park: Volci Museum and Park
Adria Adria  
Bologna Bononia  
Cesena Caesena  
Mantua Mantua  
Marzabotto Misa  
Modena Mutina  
Parma Parma Piacenza Museum
Ravenna Ravenna  
Spina-abandoned Spina  
Aleria Aleria  
Capua Capua  
Ischia Pitecusa  
Nola Nola  
Pompeii-abandoned Pompeii  
Rome Roma At least three Kings of Rome were Etruscan. The major Etruscan Museums are in  Rome.
Suessula-abandoned Suessula  
Tuscania Tuscana  
You may contact me, Nancy Padgett, at NJPadgett@gmail.com. Updated 25 February 2016