Located in the Upper Lazio region, near to the city of Viterbo, Tarquinia was, without doubt, one of the most important Etruscan settlements in Italy, rich of artifacts and more. Known as the old "Tarquinia" by the Romans and "Tarchuna" by the Etruscans, due to its commercial connections with Greece, it was, in the IV century B.C., one of the major cities of the Etruscan League. Home town, in the VII century B.C., of the first of the Etruscan kings of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus, who is famous for planning the urban core of the Empire's capital city, which previously was only a series of smaller settlements scattered between the famous seven hills, around the River Tiber.
Founded, according to the legends, by Tarchon, companion of the mythical hero Thyrrenus, founder of the Etruscans, Tarquinia repeatedly clashed with Rome and was finally subdued in the III century B.C. after the battle of Sentino. In the V century A. D. The city became part of the Roman-Gothic reign of Theodoric and later it submitted the domain of the Lombard Duchy of Tuscia. This last, conquered by the Franks, ceded their rights to the Papal States. During the Middle Ages there was a gradual and inexorable depopulation of the ancient Etruscan and Roman center in favor of a new settlement, built on the adjacent hill, which was named Corneto. After resisting bravely against the attack of the troops of Frederick II, the center remained constantly under the control of the Papal States. From 1872, the city assumed the new name Corneto Tarquinia and, since 1922 its current name: Tarquinia.
Since 2004, the Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri and Tarquinia have been declared sites of UNESCO World Heritage.
Sites of Interest:
- the Archaeological Site of prehistoric origins (IX-VIII century B.C.), located on the hill La Civita;
- the Necropolis of the Monterozzi, located at less than 3 km east of town centre and consists of about 150 graves: the oldest are just mounds, while the latest consist of a long corridor dug into the hillside, which opens into the main death cell, richly decorated by frescoes. Among the most famous include the Tomb of the Bulls, the Tomb of Blessing, the Tomb of the Triclinium, the Tomb of the Baron, the Tomb dedicated to hunting and fishing;
- the Ara della Regina, the remains of a rectangular temple dating from the IV century B.C.;
- the Tarquiniense National Archaeological Museum, located in the Vitelleschi Palace, a permanent exhibitions of finds, from pottery to everyday objects, from a sarcophagus to fragments of frescoes detached from the walls of the tombs, from decorations of the Ara della Regina (with its sculpture of winged horses) to vases with Greek paintings;
- the Town Hall, built in the XIII century in Romanesque style and profoundly altered in the XVI century. The rooms are richly frescoed with paintings dating from the XVI and XVII century;
- the Natural Reserve of the Salt deposits of Tarquinia.