"Oh, dear God! Not ANOTHER Etruscan Necropolis!"

"But they're ALL WONDERFUL!"

"THAT'S THE PROBLEM... Haven't we had enough eternity for one day?"

"So are you saying, DON'T STOP HERE?!"

"YES! But we can tell everyone that we did!"

A View of the Necropolis of Tarquinia,
at nearby Monterozzi ("The Mounds").

Every ten minutes, another sign pops up. Telling us to turn off the road...

Back in the old days, this region (the coastal border-land between Tuscany and Latium) was merely malarial.

But that was before Etruscan Fatigue set in.

 Another View of the Necropolis of Tarquinia.

Amidst the relentless profusion of Etruscan sites, Tarquinia is certainly the most discouraging - at first glimpse.

From a distance, it looks like an old mining camp - with a huddle of cabins at the mine heads and grassed-over slag heaps.

If the Seven Dwarves popped up singing over the ridge, we would scarcely be surprised...

(See the largely irrelevant preceding post,

Two Excavated Tomb Shafts at Tarquinia.

But how do we tell a mining pit from a tomb shaft?

Or a slag heap from a tumulus?

(TRAVEL TIP: Bring a roll of paper towels and a bottle of your favorite window cleaner. Otherwise, you will spend most of your time at Tarquinia peering through hair grease and nose prints.)


Peering into the Tomb of the Lionesses (Sixth Century B.C.)

BUT THEN, at the bottom of each tunnel, there is a moment of revelation... And time stands still - whether we want it to or not.

Scenes of Celebration from the Tomb of the Lionesses
(Sixth Century B.C.)

Right before our eyes, we see Gods and Mortals, Sacrifices and Offerings...

Mourners at the Door of the Sepulcher, from the
Tomb of the Augurs (Sixth Century B.C.)  

But most of all, we see dances...

 Dancers from the Tomb of the Lionesses
(Sixth Century, B.C.) 


...athletic contests...

Wrestlers from the Tomb of the Augurs
(Sixth Century B.C.)

  ...hunting and fishing...

From the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing
(Sixth Century B.C.)

...and lovemaking (of a sort).

Erotic Scene from the Tomb of the Bulls
(Sixth Century B.C.)

And banquets - with food, wine, music and the rest. 

 Banquet Scene from the Tomb of the Leopards (Fifth Century B.C.)

Emblazoned for eternity on the walls of subterranean tombs...

  Cupbearer and Musicians from the Tomb of the Leopards 

And even today,
Past meets Present in a nearby bar.

Taking a break, at the Etruscan Necropolis of Tarquinia.

(A tip of the hat to Rosemarie Mulcahy, who exclaimed, "Quick! There's an Etruscan Face!
 Don't let it get away!")


From the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing
(Sixth Century B.C.)

Scenes from the Necropolis of Monterozzi at Tarquinia:
© Lyle Goldberg
Tarquinian Tomb Paintings: From the Web


  1. Those colors are mind-boggling. Did your brother take these pictures as well, and if so was it through glass doors? Because that would be almost as mind-boggling as the intensity of frescoed color that has persisted over thousands of years.

  2. A mind is a terrible thing to boggle. And Liv, I am especially protective of yours, as a cultural property of humanity... The outside shots are my brother's, as is Miss Etruscan Pleasure with the plastic coffee cup in hand. HOWEVER, all of the frescos are taken off the web - for two reasons: (1) it was almost impossible to shoot through the glass and God Knows, we tried, and (2) since I live in Italy, I try to avoid using our own shots of objects where there might be issues of property rights. You never know when some official will get his/her knickers in a twist (maybe one time in a thousand, but still...) While most people steal images off the web and pass them off as their own, there (just possibly) might be others who post original pictures and claim that they are second-hand. And if so, they will to answer for that in the Eternal Afterlife.

  3. Barely related tangent: my father spent years trying to take a crisp, thoroughly-focused picture through the keyhole of the Knights of Malta's portone on the Aventine. One day he finally succeeded. That picture was our Christmas card for the next 3, 4 years at least.

    Even now, lo these decades later and with an entire Internet to search, I still cannot find its equal.