When we think of ancient civilizations, more often than not we think of Rome. Yet before the Romans, there were the Etruscans who lived in west Italy from the 9th century onward. Their necropolises, or burial grounds, represent much of what we know about not only Etruscan culture but also burial practices from that ancient time.
Depictions of daily life can be found on frescoed walls, and many of the necropolises resemble Etruscan homes. The necropolis of Cerveteri alone has thousands of tomb structures which are arranged as if a small city. It can be navigated in largely the same manner, with paths, city squares, and even distinct neighborhoods.
The nearby Tarquinia necropolis has more than 6,000 tombs carved into rock. Interestingly, these tombs built for death are one of the greatest keys we have to understand how the Etruscans lived. Many of them are the only existing structure of their kind.
Cerveteri is located in northern Lazio, about 28 miles from Rome. Open from 8:30 am daily, it costs 6 Euros to enter either tomb (Cerveteri and Tarquinia.) The National Museum of Cerverteri of Etruscan artifacts is nearby to the necropolis, and is also worth checking out. The Cerveteri necropolis is located at Via della Necropoli 43/45, whereas Tarquinia is at Strada provinciale Monterozzi Marina. You can get there by driving, or take Rome’s Metro Line A the Cornelia stop; from the Cornelia stop, you can catch a CoTral bus to Cerveteri. It’s about 45 minutes to then travel to Tarquinia.