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Tarquinia, Capital of Etruria

Tarquinia, in the Province of Viterbo, is a tiny town center with an enormous history, indissolubly bound to the Etruscan Civilization. In fact, the Etruscans left behind an important artistic legacy that today is held inside the National Museum of Palazzo Vitelleschi. In the intriguing and splendid Necropolis of Monterozzi (named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, along with the Necropolis of Banditaccia di Cerveteri), it is possible to visit the magnificent mound tombs dug into the rock. One curious and unexpected fact: the painted walls inside the tombs make Tarquinia the world's largest subterranean painting gallery. Tarquinia's modern-day downtown, constructed on a hill after the decline of the ancient city, lived a period of impressive development between the 12th and 13th Centuries. High towers dot the historic center, denoting the wealth that made Tarquinia one of the most important "turreted" communities in Italy.