Vetluna (Roman Vetulonia)

The Etruscan city of Vetluna (Roman Vetulonia) is located on the Maremma hills, above a lagoon and with access to the sea. The nearest modern city is Grosseto, approximately 30km to the South East.Vetluna is the Etruscan city where the Lictors rods and Fasces originated. In 1898, a necropolis was discovered with a bundle of Iron rods with a double axe in the centre. Later that year, the burial stele of Avele Feluske was discovered, on which illustrated the same device. This became a symbol of power by the Roman Magistrates in later years. The Lictor was the name given to the Magistrates assistant.


The drainage of the Maremma was one of crowning agricultural achievements of ths Etruscans. When the Romans occupied the nearby City of Rosella in 294 BCE, the city began a marked decline. The irrigation systems fell into decline, the drainage systems silted up and the area once more reverted to malaria infested swampland.

The Romans attempted to establish a garrison at Graviscae, but fever quickly killed off the inhabitants. Cato attributed te deaths to the "unhealthy air". Right up to the 19th Century the area was Malaria infested and it has only been this century that the Marenna has once more become fertile agricultural land as it was at the time of the Etruscans.

The Ancient city of Vetulonia continues to be excavated, together with its tombs. Aerial photographs show traces of an extensive wall system constructed possibly around the 4th century BCE, attesting to the presence of quite a significant settlement even by that time.

At the beginning of the 5th century BCE the tombs become less numerous, indicating the beginning of a crisis in the city. It is possible that at this stage Populonia started to emerge as the dominant city in the region, controlling the Metal deposits in the Colline Metalliferi of Metalliferous Hills, or perhaps the population shifted to nearby Russelae. In later times Vetluna continued to decline to obscurity.

Despite the decline of Vetluna, the Agricultural land and small settlements surrounding Vetluna continued to prosper as indicated by numerous remains found at Val Berretta, Saint Germano, Selvello.

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