Not too far from the Eternal City midst the tranquil countryside of Rome lay the last vestiges of Ancient Rome’s and Etruria’s greatness: Ostia Antica and the Banditaccia Necropolis in Cerveteri.
On this tour you will spend the first half of the day exploring the beautifully preserved 2nd century ruins of the once thriving Ancient Roman city of Ostia Antica, and afterwards, walk among the sacred tombs of the mysterious Etruscans who ruled central Italy for centuries as the most advanced civilization west of the Mediterranean until overtaken by the invincible Romans. But with so many stunning medieval towns crowning Lazio’s hilltops, it is only fitting that we visit one for lunch!
*NEW*: Click here to see what's NEW at Banditaccia Necropolis that will make your visit even more exciting: Ancient Tombs Meet Modern Technology
From Rome Hotel:
Your professional driver will pick you up from your hotel at 9 AM, and bring you back approximately 5:00 PM.
From Civitavecchia Cruise Port:
Your professional driver will pick you up on the pier next to your ship at 8:00 AM, holding a sign with your name.
You return to your ship by 5:00 PM.
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Situated on the outskirts of Cerveteri, the Banditaccia Necropolis has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site along with the Monterozzi Necropolis in Tarquinia.
English novelist D.H. Lawrence wrote in “Etruscan Places”:
"The Etruscans were the people who occupied the middle of Italy in early Roman days and whom the Romans, in their usual neighborly fashion, wiped out the entire area to make room for Rome with a big “R”.
The Romans were not the first "big" civilization in Italy; the first ones to start commerce and cities were the mysterious yet amazingly advanced Etruscans.
One of the most fascinating characteristics of this necropolis is that it spans over 6 centuries of the Etruscan civilization, making this the largest city of the dead in the Mediterranean area. You can see the progression of the early 9th Century BC Villanovan rock-cut trenches containing urns, to the complex 3rd century BC city-like planning of tombs with roads for processions. From primitive pottery ossuaries to elaborate hut shaped tombs carved out of the living tuffa rock and rich in structural details, you can see ancient cultural and architectural advancements unfold all around you.
Although none of the Etruscan homes survived to this day, you can see the types of homes Etruscans lived in just by walking into their tombs! Considered permanent homes for the dead, the tombs were carved to resemble the interior of residential homes, lavishly designed with gabled roof, crossbeam, stone couches, chairs, and other architectural details.
Of the many tombs you will visit, the most famous is the 4th century BC Tomb of the Reliefs that includes multiple funerary niches and relief carvings on the walls representing weapons as well as religious and domestic objects.
Rarely crowded, this ancient city of the dead surrounded by Lazio’s magestic valley makes for a lovely and enjoyable stroll among the tombs. You may even find that you have it to yourself to explore at your leisure, leaving you alone with the overwhelming sense of holiness and peace on this sacred burial place... and if you listen closely enough, you just may hear the souls of the Etruscans speaking their hearts to you.
From here we will make our way back to Rome where your driver will drop you off at your hotel in Rome or your ship in Civitavecchia Cruise Port.