Tarquinia deserves a mention because it is one of the few cities to condense three era of history –Etruscan, Roman and Medieval – into one very beautiful Old Town. For that it draws thousands of tourists each year who come for the sights and stay for the namesake DOC frizzante-style wine.
Even if you have absolutely no interest in history, the city is appealing in its own right with stone carved homes, soaring towers and one very impressive town hall located right in the heart of the all the bustling activity.
The Etruscan necropolis
With some 6,000 tombs, 200 of which are frescoed, Tarquinia’s Etruscan necropolis is quite deservedly a UNESCO world heritage site. The main site is the Monterozzi necropolis where you’ll find scenes depicting banquets, sporting events and the odd erotic and mythical scene. Famous tombs including the Tomb of the Bulls, Tomb of the Augurs and the Tomb of the Leopards.
The Tarquinia National Museum
You don’t get the title of national for nothing and Tarquinia’s museum is almost as incredible as its necropolis. It is housed in the Renaissance Palazzo Vitelleschi and has rooms upon rooms of archaeological treasures.
Ara della Regina temple
Remains of the so-called Ara della Regina temple dating back to the 4th-3rd century BC. It was built in tufa rock with wooden structures and decorations. Keep any eye out for a frieze of terracotta winged horses.
Church of Santa Maria di Castello
The Church of Santa Maria di Castello stands out in a sea of medieval buildings with its Lombard and cosmatesque influences. The interior is divided by massive pilasters with Palaeo-Christian capitals and friezes. Although, very few visitors can tear their eyes away from the rose window and marble works by various Roman masters long enough to see the rest of the church.