Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo




Archipelago Toscano




Badia di Coltibuono

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa


Bolsena Lake


Brunello di Montalcino




Castel del Piano



Castellina in Chianti


Castelnuovo Bererdenga

Castiglioncello Bandini

Castiglione della Pescaia

Castiglione d'Orcia

Castiglion Fiorentino



Chinaciano Terme




Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio

Colle Val d'Elsa


Crete Senesi

Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba



Gaiole in Chianti



Greve in Chianti


Lago Trasimeno

La Foce



Massa Marittima

Montagnola Senese


Monte Amiata

Monte Argentario





Monte Oliveto Maggiore








Parco Naturale della Maremma







Radda in Chianti



San Bruzio

San Casciano dei Bagni

San Galgano

San Gimignano

San Giovanni d'Asso

San Quirico d'Orcia


Santa Fiora














Tavernelle Val di Pesa

Torrita di Siena




Val d'Elsa

Val di Merse

Val d'Orcia

Valle d'Ombrone




Walking in Tuscany
The Ponte dell'Abbadia is a Roman bridge across the Fiora in Vulci, Province of Viterbo

The Ponte dell'Abbadia is a Roman bridge across the Fiora in Vulci, Province of Viterbo


Walking trails in Tuscany Surroundings

Walking in Tuscany | The Naturalistic Archeological Park of Vulci


The Naturalistic Archeological Park of Vulci is spread over a scarcely inhabited section of the Tuscan-Lazio Maremma, between the villages of Montalto di Castro and Canino. It is crossed by the Fiora river that has excavated the volcanic rock into a deep canyon and then formed Pellicone lake.
Vulci was an economically thriving centre thanks to commercial contacts with Greece and the East that influenced its culture. It reached its peak between the end of the C7 BC and during the entire C6 BC, when numerous stone, bronze and pottery workshops flourished. The remains from both the Etruscan phase and the period of Roman domination are in good conditions. The archeological area maintains the original set of walls (C4 BC), made up of rectangular blocks of tufa that protected the city for centuries, the podium in tufa blocks of an Etruscan temple (C5 BC), various rooms of a high class domus of the late republican period and a small temple (sacellum) dedicated to Hercules.

One of the most suggestive monuments in Vulci is certainly the Ponte of the Arcobaleno (literally Rainbow Bridge) built in the first century BC and that overview the river Fiora around Castello della Badia, the Badia Castle.

The Vulci Parco Archeologico Naturalistico has recently been instituted, to the great advantage oi walkers as there are helpful maps and bilingual (ltalian-English) information panels in key points.

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Walking in Tuscany | Itinerary in the Naturalistic Archeological Park of Vulci

The itinerary combines stunning gorge scenery and fascinating archaeological discoveries. A Roman road winds through the ruined temples and market place of Etruscan Vulci. Then on through holm oaks and wild olive trees to the stunning waterfall at Lake Pellicone, look out for kingfisher at the water's edge.

The Castello della Badia (13th century) where the Museo Nazionale Vulcente, the National Archaeological Museum is located, stands on the verge of a plunging gorge where a wonderful ancient stone bridge, the Ponte dell' Abbadia (abbey bridge) spans the River Fiora at a height of 32 m. The bridge can be crossed on foot and affords a spectacular view of the Fiora river and the now heavily forested area of Vulci.
After crossing the bridge, continue straight ahead past a private garden. Ignore the branch down left for the bridge, and go on to join an unsurfaced road. Then, in the vicinity of tomb clusters from different periods, proceed uphill to the parking area and western gate for the Civita.
There is a stunning stretch of original dark basalt paving laid by the Romans presumably over the earlier Etruscan route. Running east-west, this main axis leads all the way downhill and out the eastern gate to a meadow.
At the river's edge is the Ponte Rotto or broken bridge, where the road crossed the Fiora to the necropolises on the opposite bank.
Follow the river along to the left. A dirt track is soon reached hence entrance to the Tomba François.

From the picnic area near the sandbank, proceed northwards a little way back from the river. More fenced enclosures are traversed then the path climbs via wooden steps. This is a delightful section high above the river with beautiful views down into the stunning gorge.
A short descent follows-through wood to a side valley. Backtrack briefly to a further flight of wooden steps up through a wood of glossy dark green holm oak, and keep right at the top along the cliff edge. Follow the hedge and fence left around private property to rejoin the path and the strada Etrusca, and return right across to the Castello della Badia and back to the museum.


Castello della Badia and An etruscan bridge at Vulci

Lake Pellicone

Vulci, strada Etrusca


The museum also has an extraorinary selection of bronze and ceramic objects such as curious hut-shaped urns, some beautiful samples of bid bucchero ware, mirrors and anatomieal ex voto objects.

The Tombs of Vulci date from the 8th Century B.C. The frescoes of one of its tombs, called the François Tomb after its discoverery, show early scenes from Etruscan history. These paintings, which date from the 4th-3rd century, were detached and taken to the Museo Torlonia in Rome. From other tombs came remarkable stone sculptures and imported Greek vases.
The Francois tomb is so named after its discovery in 1857 by Florentine archaeologist Alessandro Francois and French historian Adolphe Noël des Verges.

A nearby World Wildlife Fund Oasis which provides refuge for otters and water fowl can also be visited, as can Castro, another Etruscan site. The reserve, Oasi WWf di Vulci was set up in 1982 and is situated about 1 km west of the museum, only 15 min on foot. Open for guided visits Sunday at l0 am and 3 pm, from August through to April.


The town grew in importance under the Farnese, who rebuilt the old medieval town, but when Castro fell in 1649, Canino was sold to Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Luciano. He made improvements to the town and restored the thermal baths at Musignano, where he had his summer residence. The maze-like medieval quarter Le Buche, which retains its original paving, has an interesting large public wash-housebuilt by the Farnese. In the main Piazza De Andreis stands the late 18th-century church of Santi Andrea e Giovanni Battista, in which Luciano Bonaparte is buried. The Via Cavour, lined with fine palaces bearing the Farnese crest, leads to Piazza Mazzini (the castle square). Another good, porticoed palace, Palazzo Miccinelli stands in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. At the end of the street is the Church of the Santa Croce: a very old structure in the Romanesque style, recently restructured, and is extremely rich in works of art and fascinating paintings, including the splendid fresco depicting the Deposizione, painted in the 16th century. The Farnese castle at the entrance to the old town is noted for the Paul III Tower(after the Farnese pope believed to have been born here). Nearby stands Palazzo Bonaparte. The late 15th-century monastery of San Francesco, built just outside the centre of the city during the 1400’s, lies at the northern end of the town. It is home to some stunning frescoes, including La Madonna con Bambino e Santi (The Madonna with Baby and Saints) and Saint’Antonio da Padova (Saint Antonio of Padova).
Still outside the city of Canino are the ruins of the ancient Church of the Madonna del Tufo: dating back to the 1300’s and 1400’s, it is today completely abandoned. In the 19th century however, it held some importance as the burial place of those who died from a tremendous epidemic of typhus fever.

The hills that surround Canino reach the Riserva Naturale Selva del Lamone and are cultivated with grapes and olive, the famous olive oil extra vergine di oliva, from the Canina olive variety.

The picturesque ruins of ancient Castellardolie 2 km out of Canino along the road to Ischia.
Another interesting excursion can be made along the road from Canino to the coast, via Musignano. The first 14 km bring us to Luciano Bonaparte's villa and scattered remains of the Roman baths.


A further Etruscan site, Castro, lies some 20 km further inland from Vulci, on the road that joins Pitigliano and Farnese. From Vulci take the road for Ischia di Castro, and follow the yellow signposting.
A stronghold of Etruscan origin, Castro reached its peak in the C7- 6 BC as a city dependant on the city-state of Vulci. The necropoli, located on the hilly around the modern city of Castro, provide the only proof of the existence of the ancient settlement. The numerous tombs, that for centuries preserved unimaginable treasures, are worth a visit.

Montalto di Castro

The road leading to the town is dominated by the mass of Castello Guglielmi, a medieval castle built by the Orsini, and restored in the XIXth century by the Guglielmi, a rich family of Civitavecchia. The ancient heart of the castle consists of an imposing quadrangular tower.

Walking along via Vulci, you will come to a door in the northern section of the walls. From here, you can access piazza Felice Guglielmi, which is overlooked by the neoclassical facade of Santa Croce. The inside has a single nave, and above the altar, preserved inside a glass case, is an exquisite painting, showing La Madonna della Vittoria.
If you take via Soldatelli, you end up in front of the eighteenth century facade of the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Walking in Tuscany | Walking through nature reserves in the Maremma

For Vulci see also which also provides downloadable maps, detailed descriptions of itineraries.

A nearby World Wildlife Fund Oasis provides refuge for otters and water fowl, and can also be visited, as can Castro, another Etruscan site.
For those who prefer a wilder environment, the ideal place is the Selva del Lamone, close to the boundary of Tuscany. The wood is very thick, quite impenetrable in some areas, but there are many bridle paths allowing the visitor to discover the area either on horseback or on a mountain-bike. Not far away is the charming Mezzano lake.

Riserva Naturale Selva del Lamone | Itineraries in the Regional Nature Reserve of Selva del Lamone (it)

Comune Montalto Di Castro (eng) (it)
Orari servizio di trasporto urbano | Public transport
Mappa di Montalto di Castro | Map


The municipality of Montalto di Castro contains the frazione Pescia Romana, and is the site of the never-operated Montalto di Castro nuclear power station. Montalto di Castro borders the municipalities Canino, Capalbio, Manciano, Tarquinia and Tuscania.

The François Tomb

The François Tomb is an important painted Etruscan tomb from the Ponte Rotto Necropolis in the Etruscan city of Vulci, in central Italy. It was discovered in 1857 by Alessandro François (it) and Adolphe Noël des Vergers (fr). It dates to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. The tomb seems to belong to the Etruscan family of the Saties (or Seties) and one of its chief occupants is Vel Saties, who appears with his dwarf, Arnza. Its painted frescoes are significant both iconographically and also in terms of their comments on Etruscan history and identity.


Achilles' sacrifice of the 12 Trojan prisoners at the funeral of Patroclus. Part of a wall painting in the Francois Tomb,
Vulci, 350-330 BC. Museo Torlonia, Rome

This elaborate underground tomb has an exceptionally long dromos (27 metres), which leads to an enlarged chamber leading to the entrance of the tomb. This leads to a large central hypogeum (atrium) which is roughly T-shaped, A succession of 7 chambers lead off the atrium with the principal tablinium chamber directly in line with the entrance, and three others leading off from either side. An additional three ediculae lead off the dromos. The walls of the atrium are richly decorated with subjects ranging from the Illiad to Etruscan battle scenes. The upper panels show hunting scenes and mythological animals. A square labyrinth meander, painted in 3 dimensional perspective, separates the main panels from the upper mensola, which depicts geometrical patterns. A single element of this meander pattern is repeated in the architectural form of the high vaulted ceiling. Doors have feint pillars and architraves. The murals were detached on the orders of Prince Torlonia shortly after their discovery, and were relocated to the Museo Torlonia. Since 1946, they have been stored at the Villa Albani in Rome as part of the Torlonia collection.
The tomb is important because it gives an unique snapshot of Etruscan and Roman history during the early days of Rome. It confirms the later version of history given by the Emperor Claudius in the Lugdunum tablet, in which he describes the Etruscan version of the story of Servius Tullius (Mastarna).[1]
The François Tomb also contains a fresco depicting Caelius Vibenna (whom the Romans believed the Caelian Hill was named after) and Mastarna (a legendary figure whom the Emperor Claudius identified with Servius Tullius).

The Italian foundational myth of fratricide (Romulus and Remus) is reprised in the deadly conflict between Eteocles and Polynices.
In Greek mythology, Polynices or Polyneices (Greek: Πολυνείκης, transl. Polyneíkes, "manifold strife") was the son of Oedipus and Jocasta. His wife was Argea. His father, Oedipus, was discovered to have killed his father and married his mother, and was expelled from Thebes, leaving his sons Eteocles and Polynices to rule. Because of a curse put on them by their father, Oedipus, the sons, Polynices and Eteocles, did not share the rule peacefully and died as a result by killing each other in a battle for the control of Thebes.


The duel between Eteocles and Polynices. From Vulci, François Tomb, Rome, Torlonia Museum.

Detail of frieze with animals. 2nd—1st centuries B.C. From Vulci, François Tomb. Rome, Torlonia Museum.


Hidden secrets in Tuscany Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia


Chiesa di San Pietro, Tuscania
Lago di Burano

Tombola di Feniglia, view from
Monte Argentario

Between Ansedonia and Porto Ercole lies the gorgeous sandy beach stretching from Feniglia for 6 km. You can only reach this part by foot or bicycle as this park is unter nature protection.

Parco Naturale della Maremma

The most famous part of the Maremma is the Parco Naturale della Maremma, otherwise known as the Parco dell'Uccellina

Principina a Mare

The Ombrone River located along the coast of Maremma Grossetana, where it flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea in Principina a Mare.

Ansedonia and the ancient Roman town “Cosa”
At the mainland end of the Feniglia tombolo Ansedonia rises above the sandy shore, a green contrast to the darker Mediterranean maquis of the Feniglia.
On top of the hill are the evocative ruins of Archaeological Area of Cosa, Roman colony founded in 273 BC, perhaps on land confiscated from the Etruscans. Its strategic position allowed to control the sea and land flow. Cosa seems to have prospered until it was sacked in the 60s BC, perhaps by pirates. Today is an important archaeological site in Maremma. The coastline is steep and rocky: “la Tagliata” is a canal cut in the rock in Roman times, still visible; and “lo Spacco della Regina” is a natural cleft in the rock on which the sunlight produces fantastic light and shade effects.

Vulci | The archaeological areas
The city
On the site of the ancient city, it is possible to see the remains of a villa dating from the 1st century BC, a long stretch of a Roman road, the foundations of an Etruscan temple and the remains of two doors in the city walls.

The necropolises
Four necropolises dating from the 8th century BC have been found around the city of Vulci. The tombs of the 6th and 5th centuries BC are generally of the sarcophagus type. Only a few graves are an exception, including the large tumulus of the "cuccumella". The habit of placing statues of imaginary animals to guard the tombs is characteristic of Vulci. Immensely rich burial treasures have been found in these tombs, in particular a large number of ceramics of Greek production, and bronze objects of local production. In the second half of the 4th century BC, the tombs became of the hypogeal type and reproduce the shapes of the dwellings. The most well-known of these hypogea is the François tomb, famous for its paintings (now at Villa Albani in Rome) portraying, as well as the deceased, episodes from Greek mythology together with characters from Etruscan myths.

[1] The Francois Tomb, Vulci |
The Francois tomb is so named after its discovery in 1857 by Florentine archaeologist Alessandro Francois and French historian Adolphe Noël des Verges, author of "L'Etrurie et les Etrusques". Des Vergers gives us an exciting account of the discovery of the Francois Tomb. He writes how Francois began his search by the ancient Ponte de Badia, which spanned the River Fiora. After days of fruitless searching through rough thicket, Francois and Des Vergers finally came upon an opening filled with rubble, hidden under moss-coated scree. After careful examination, Francois came to the conclusion that it must lead to a large undergound tomb.

After summoning a gang of workmen from Montalto di Castro, work commenced on removing the debris from the tunnel. The long excavation continued, and a 'cippus' or tomb marker was found, with the inscription Ravnthu Seitithi (TLE 303), the name of a woman of the gens Seities. Francois then tells of one evening when the excavation supervisor explained to him that there had been a cave-in,and expressed doubts about being able to proceed. Francois went on to explain, "The next day I had a hole bored through the middle of the debris. Then I lay down full length on the ground and worked my way through the entrance. After I had gone about 3 metres, I was able to lift my head and I lit the torch I had brought with me... Soon I found myself in an underground room carved out of the travertine rock, and about 4-5 metres high."

After making his way back to daylight, Francois ordered the opening to be enlarged, and then, together with des Vergers and some workmen, he returned to the dromos. The unforgettable moment of his great discovery came when, wrote des Vergers, "at the last stroke of the pick the stone that closed the entrance to the crypt yielded, and the torchlight shone upon vaults whose darkness and silence had remained undisturbed for more than twenty centuries."

Spellbound, the two men lingered, stirred by the magic of this bygone world. Then, as after a little while their eyes became accustomed to the gloom and they began to gaze around the deep underground chamber, there came the second surprise, no less exciting than the first.


Image of Satis. From Vulci, François Tomb, Rome, Torlonia Museum

All around, the walls of the tomb were covered with frescoes. They depicted scenes of bloodshed and cruelty, scenes of furiously fighting men and of slaughter. On the left wall from the entrance were (left to right) Ajax (aich) seizing Cassandra (cas'ntra) at the altar after the capture of Troy, Phoenix (Phenuis)- the mentor of Achilles, Nestor King of Pylos, and the fratricidal struggle of Eteocles and Polynices from the seven against Thebes legend. On the entry wall, to the left appeared the execution of the Trojan prisoners, the human sacrifice offered to the soul of the dead Patroclus. Achilles was shown in the act of carrying it out. He had plunged his sword deep into the neck of a youth whose eyes seemed frozen with terror and pain. All these were scenes from Greek legends and the subject matter was nothing new, with the exception of the Etruscan underworld deities Vanth and Charu(n).[1]

Tarquinia | The Necropolises of Tarquinia and Cerveteri

Tarquinia (Tarchna/Tarchuna) |

Stephan Steingräber, Abundance of Life: Etruscan Wall Painting |

D.H. Lawrence, Etruscan Places - A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook |

Ancient Art Pailting |

This article incorporates material from the Wikipedia article François Tomb published under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to François Tomb (Vulci).
Photo credits: Podere Santa Pia and for François Tomb: Les Grands Siècles De La Peinture : La Peinture Étrusque,
© 1985, by Editions d’Art Albert Skira S.A., Genève. First edition © 1952, by Editions d’Art Albert Skira S.A., Genève.