The Info List - Tarquinia

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(Italian: [tarˈkwiːnja]), formerly Corneto, is an old city in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, Italy
known chiefly for its outstanding and unique ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoli or cemeteries which it overlies, for which it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. In 1922 it was renamed after the ancient city of Tarquinii (Roman) or Tarch(u)na (Etruscan). Although little is visible of the once great wealth and extent of the ancient city, archaeology is increasingly revealing glimpses of past glories.


1 Location 2 History

2.1 The Etruscan City 2.2 The Roman City 2.3 The post-Roman City

3 Main sights

3.1 The Etruscan necropoleis 3.2 The Ancient City (La Civita)

3.2.1 The Temple Ara della Regina 3.2.2 City walls

3.3 Other sights

4 Tarquinia
DOC 5 Twin towns 6 Notes 7 References 8 External links

Location[edit] The Etruscan and Roman city is situated on the long plateau of La Civita to the north of the current town. The ancient burial grounds (necropoli), dating from the Iron Age (9th century BC, or Villanovan period) to Roman times, were on the adjacent promontories including that of today's Tarquinia. History[edit]

Site of the ancient city on the plateau of La Civita opposite the modern town

The Etruscan City[edit] Tarquinii (Etruscan Tarch(u)na etc.[1]) was one of the most ancient and important Etruscan cities;[2] the ancient myths connected with Tarchuna (those of its eponymous founder Tarchon - the son or brother of Tyrrhenos - and of the infant oracle Tages, who gave the Etruscans the "disciplina etrusca"), all point to the great antiquity and cultural importance of the city; and the archaeological finds bear out that Tarchuna was one of the oldest Etruscan centres which eclipsed its neighbours well before the advent of written records. It is said to have been already a flourishing city when Demaratus of Corinth brought in Greek workmen. Descendants of Demaratus, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus
and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, became kings of ancient Rome. From Tarchuna many of the religious rites and ceremonies of Rome
are said to have been derived, and even in imperial times a collegium of sixty haruspices continued to exist there.[2] The emergence of Tarchuna as a trading power as early as the 8th Century BC was influenced by its control of mineral resources located in the Tolfa Hills to the south of the city and midway to the Caeretan port of Pyrgi. In 509 BC after the overthrow of the Roman monarchy the family of Tarquinius Superbus went into exile in Caere. He sought to regain the throne at first by the Tarquinian conspiracy
Tarquinian conspiracy
and, when that failed, by force of arms. He convinced the cities of Tarchuna and Veii
to support him and led their armies against Rome
in the Battle of Silva Arsia. Although the Roman army was victorious it is recorded by Livy
that the forces of Tarchuna fought well on the right wing, initially pushing back the Roman left wing. After the battle the forces of Tarchuna returned home.[3] At the end of the fifth century and during the first half of the fourth a brief revival took place, both in the political and artistic sphere, probably under the ascendancy of the Spurinna family, whose members contributed to the renewed expansion of Tarchuna and the repopulation and growth of towns in the hinterland. The Spurinnas' tomb, known as the Tomba dell'Orco, is decorated with fine frescoes of a banquet uniting the famous members of the family who are identified by inscriptions. The Spurinna family was prominent in Tarquinii up to the 1st Century AD. Recently two fragmented slabs were found known as the Elogia Tarquiniensis. These pay tribute to Velthur Spurinnas and Aulus Spurinnas, and give a rare glimpse of Etruscan history, including the mention of one King Orgolnium of Caere, recalling the family name of Urgulanilla, which included among its members the wife of the emperor Claudius. During this period, Tarchuna overtook Caere
and other Etruscan cities in terms of power and influence. It was about this period that colossal walls were built around the city in response to threats from the Celts and from Rome. Tarchuna, not affected by Celtic invasions, finally colonised all its previously held territories in about 385 BC. This new flourishing state allowed a rapid recovery of all activities. Impressive burial monuments decorated by paintings, with sarcophagi and funerary sculptures in stone, reflect the eminent social position of the new aristocratic classes, but several inscriptions on walls and sarcophagi show the gradual process of an increasingly democratic transition was taking place. However, during the fourth century BC when Tarchuna's expansion was at its peak, a bitter struggle with Rome
took place. In 358 BC, the citizens of Tarchuna captured and put to death 307 Roman soldiers; the resulting war ended in 351 BC with a forty years' truce, renewed for a similar period in 308 BC. The Roman City[edit] When Tarchuna came under Roman domination is uncertain, as is also the date at which it became a municipium; in 181 BC its port, Graviscae (mod. Porto Clementino), in an unhealthy position on the coast (due to malaria from nearby marshes), became a Roman colonia which exported wine and had coral fisheries. We do not hear much of Tarquinii in Roman times, but the flax and forests of its extensive territory are mentioned by classical authors, and Tarquinii offered to furnish Scipio with sailcloth in 195 BC. A bishop of Tarquinii is mentioned in 456AD.[2] The post-Roman City[edit] The ancient city had shrunk to a small fortified settlement on the "Castellina" location during the early Middle Ages, while the more strategically placed Corneto (possibly the "Corito" mentioned in Roman sources) grew progressively to become the major city of the lower Maremma sea coast, especially after the destruction of the port of Centumcellae
(modern Civitavecchia). The last historic references to Tarquinii are from around 1250, while the name of Corneto was changed to Tarquinia
in 1922. Reversion to historical place names (not always accurately), was a frequent phenomenon under the Fascist Government of Italy
as part of the nationalist campaign to evoke past glories. Main sights[edit]


UNESCO World Heritage Site

Official name Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri
and Tarquinia

Location Province of Viterbo, Italy

Coordinates 42°14′57″N 11°45′22″E / 42.2492°N 11.7561°E / 42.2492; 11.7561

Area 279.34 km2 (3.0068×109 sq ft)

Criteria Cultural: i, iii, iv

Reference 1158

Inscription 2004 (28th Session)

Website www.tarquinia.net

Location of Tarquinia

[edit on Wikidata]

The Etruscan necropoleis[edit] Main article: Monterozzi necropolis The main necropolis of Tarchuna, part of which can be visited today, is the Monterozzi necropolis
Monterozzi necropolis
with some 6,000 tombs, at least 200 of which include beautiful wall paintings, and many of which were tumulus tombs with chambers carved in the rock below. The painted scenes are of a quality virtually unrivalled elsewhere in the Etruscan world and give a valuable insight into the secretive world of the Etruscans
which is rarely documented. They show banquets with dances and music, sporting events, occasional erotic and mythical scenes. In the late period underworld demons escorting the dead on their journey to the beyond including scenes in the nether world were depicted, and also processions of magistrates and other symbols of the rank of the eminent members of the families buried there. Famous tombs include the Tomb of the Bulls, Tomb of the Augurs
Tomb of the Augurs
and the Tomb of the Leopards. During the second half of the 4th century sculpted and painted sarcophagi of nenfro, marble and alabaster came into use. They were deposited on rock-carved benches or against the walls in the by then very large underground chambers. Sarcophagi continued until the second century and are found in such numbers at Tarquinia
that they must have been manufactured locally. The Ancient City (La Civita)[edit] The city towered above the Marta valley and was about 6 km from the sea. La Civita is made up of two adjoining plateaux, the pian di Civita and the pian della Regina, joined by a narrow saddle.

Ara della Regina

The Temple Ara della Regina[edit] Measuring c. 44 × 25 m and dating to c. 4th-3rd century BC, it was built in tufa with wooden structures and decorations, notably the famous and exquisite frieze of winged horses in terracotta that is considered a masterpiece of Etruscan art.

Horses from the Ara della Regina

City walls[edit]

City gate of "Porta Romanelli".

The large walls were built during the city's most prosperous period in the 6th century BC and measured about 8 km long, enclosing 135 ha, and long parts of the northern section are visible. Other sights[edit]

National Museum: with a large collection of archaeological finds, it is housed in the Renaissance Palazzo Vitelleschi, begun in 1436 and completed around 1480–1490.

The church of Santa Maria di Castello.

Santa Maria di Castello: church built 1121-1208 with Lombard and Cosmatesque
influences. The façade has a small bell-tower and three entrances. The interior has a nave and two aisles, divided by massive pilasters with palaeo-Christian capitals and friezes. Noteworthy are also the rose-window in the nave and the several marble works by Roman masters. Tarquinia
Cathedral: once in Romanesque-Gothic style but rebuilt after the 1643 fire, it has maintained from the original edifice the 16th-century frescoes in the presbytery, by Antonio del Massaro San Pancrazio: Gothic-Romanesque church San Giacomo and Santissima Annunziata, churches showing different Arab and Byzantine influences San Martino: 12th-century Romanesque church San Giovanni Battista: 12th-century church with an elegant rose-window in the simple façade. Communal Palace, in Romanesque style, begun in the 13th century and restored in the 16th The numerous medieval towers, including that of Dante Alighieri Palazzo dei Priori. The façade, remade in Baroque times, has a massive external staircase. The interior has a fresco cycle from 1429.

The flag of Tarquinia.

DOC[edit] The Italian wine DOC
Italian wine DOC
of Tarquinia
produces red, white frizzante style wine. The grapes are limited to a harvest yield of 12 tonnes/ha with finished wines needing a minimum 10.5% alcohol level. The reds are a blend of at least 60% Sangiovese
and/or Montepulciano, up to 25% Cesanese
and up to 30% of other local red grape varieties such as Abbuoto. The whites are composed of at least 50% Trebbiano
and/or Giallo, up to 35% Malvasia
and up to 30 other local grape varieties with the exception of Pinot grigio
Pinot grigio
that is specifically excluded from the DOC wines of Tarquinia.[4] Twin towns[edit]

Jaruco, Cuba Rabat, Malta


^ The Etruscan Language: An Introduction, Giuliano Bonfante, Larissa Bonfante, 2002 ISBN 978-0-7190-5539-3 ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 430 ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2.6-7 ^ Saunders, P. (2004). Wine Label Language. Firefly Books. p. 205. ISBN 1-55297-720-X. 


R. Leighton, Tarquinia, an Etruscan City (Duckworth, London, 2004).


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ashby, Thomas (1911). "Tarquinii". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 430.  This work in turn cites:

L. Dasti, Notizie storiche archeologiche di Tarquinia
e Corneto (Rome, 1878) G. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria
(London, 1883), i. 301 sqq. Notizie degli Scavi, passim, especially 1885, 513 sqq. E. Bormann in Corp. Inscr. Lai., xi. (Berlin, 1888), p. 510 sqq. G. Körte, "Etrusker" in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyklopädie, vi. 730 sqq.

External links[edit]

Media related to Tarquinia
at Wikimedia Commons  "Corneto". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (9th ed.). 1878.   "Corneto Tarquinia". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). 1911.  Official website Awayaway.com, Tarquinia
- ancient history of Italy: descriptions of some Etruscan tombs Uchicago.edu (3 chapters of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria) Discoversoriano.com, Information about Tarquinia's Cattle Branding Festival / Tarquinia
Tourism Information

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World Heritage Sites in Italy


Crespi d'Adda Genoa Mantua
and Sabbioneta Monte San Giorgio1 Porto Venere, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, Cinque Terre

Corniglia Manarola Monterosso al Mare Riomaggiore Vernazza

Residences of the Royal House of Savoy

Castle of Moncalieri Castle of Racconigi Castle of Rivoli Castello del Valentino Royal Palace of Turin Palazzo Carignano Palazzo Madama, Turin Palace of Venaria Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi Villa della Regina

Rhaetian Railway
Rhaetian Railway
in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes1 Rock Drawings in Valcamonica Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe- Roero
and Monferrato


Aquileia The Dolomites Ferrara Modena Cathedral, Torre della Ghirlandina
Torre della Ghirlandina
and Piazza Grande, Modena Orto botanico di Padova Ravenna Venice Verona City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto


Assisi Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri
and Tarquinia Florence Hadrian's Villa Medici villas Piazza del Duomo, Pisa Pienza Rome2 San Gimignano Siena Urbino Val d'Orcia Villa d'Este


Alberobello Amalfi Coast Castel del Monte, Apulia Cilento
and Vallo di Diano
Vallo di Diano
National Park, Paestum
and Velia, Certosa di Padula Herculaneum Oplontis
and Villa Poppaea Naples Palace of Caserta, Aqueduct of Vanvitelli
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli
and San Leucio
San Leucio
Complex Pompeii Sassi di Matera


Aeolian Islands Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale Archaeological Area of Agrigento Barumini nuraghes Mount Etna Syracuse and Necropolis of Pantalica Val di Noto

Caltagirone Catania Militello in Val di Catania Modica Noto Palazzolo Acreide Ragusa Scicli

Villa Romana del Casale


Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)

Brescia Cividale del Friuli Castelseprio Spoleto Temple of Clitumnus
Temple of Clitumnus
located at Campello sul Clitunno Santa Sofia located at Benevento Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo
Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo
located at Monte Sant'Angelo

Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps3 Primeval Beech Forests of Europe4 Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries5

Bergamo Palmanova Peschiera del Garda

1 Shared with Switzerland 2 Shared with the Holy See 3 Shared with Austria, France, Germany, Slovenia, and Switzerland 4 Shared with Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain
and Ukraine 5 Shared with Croatia
and Montenegro

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· Comuni of the Province of Viterbo

Acquapendente Arlena di Castro Bagnoregio Barbarano Romano Bassano Romano Bassano in Teverina Blera Bolsena Bomarzo Calcata Canepina Canino Capodimonte Capranica Caprarola Carbognano Castel Sant'Elia Castiglione in Teverina Celleno Cellere Civita Castellana Civitella d'Agliano Corchiano Fabrica di Roma Faleria Farnese Gallese Gradoli Graffignano Grotte di Castro Ischia di Castro Latera Lubriano Marta Montalto di Castro Monte Romano Montefiascone Monterosi Nepi Onano Oriolo Romano Orte Piansano Proceno Ronciglione San Lorenzo Nuovo Soriano nel Cimino Sutri Tarquinia Tessennano Tuscania Valentano Vallerano Vasanello Vejano Vetralla Vignanello Villa San Giovanni in Tuscia Viterbo Vitorchiano

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Etruscan-related topics


Origins Padanian Etruria Founding of Rome Tyrrhenus Tyrrhenians Tarchon Caelius Vibenna Capys Lucius Tarquinius Priscus Tanaquil Servius Tullius Lucius Tarquinius Superbus Aruns (son of Tarquinius Superbus) Lars Porsena Lars Tolumnius Titus Vestricius Spurinna

Culture and society

Apollo of Veii Architecture Art Chimera of Arezzo Coins Corpus Speculorum Etruscorum Etruscan League Etruscan names for Greek heroes Etruscan Sibyl Extispicy Fanum Voltumnae Haruspex Jewelry Lausus Liver of Piacenza Mezentius Mythological figures Mythology Persius Poppilia Raeti Religion Sarcophagus of the Spouses Tages Terracotta warriors Titus Lartius Tomb of the Roaring Lions Vulca

Military history

Battle of Alalia
Battle of Alalia
(540 BC–535 BC) Siege of Rome
(509 BC) Siege of Rome
(508 BC) Battle of the Cremera (477 BC) Battle of Cumae
Battle of Cumae
(474 BC) Capture of Fidenae
(435 BC) Battle of Veii
(c. 396 BC) Battle of Lake Vadimo (310 BC) Battle of Populonia (282 BC)


Alphabet Cippus Perusinus Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum English words of Etruscan origin Lemnian language Liber Linteus Pyrgi
Tablets Raetic language Spanish words of Etruscan origin Tabula Capuana Tabula Cortonensis Tyrsenian languages


Bucchero Cuniculi Etruscology Impasto (pottery) Monteleone Chariot National Etruscan Museum Negau helmet Portonaccio Tomb of Orcus Tumulus
of Montefortini Vicus Tuscus

Key sites

Acquarossa Adria Aleria Baratti Bologna Caere Ceri Cerveteri Civita di Bagnoregio Clusium Cumae Etruria Falerii Fescennia Fidenae Norchia Orvieto Perusia Poggio Colla Populonia Pyrgi Rusellae San Giovenale Spina Tarquinia Tuscania Veii Vetulonia Vie Cave Volsinii Volterra Vulci


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Landmarks of Lazio

Abruzzo, Lazio
and Molise National Park Circeo National Park Civita Castellana
Civita Castellana
Cathedral Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri Etruscan necropolis of Tarquinia Fossanova Abbey Garden of Ninfa Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park Hadrian's Villa Monte Cassino Ostia Antica Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo Park of the Monsters