Populonia (Etruscan)

Populonia (Etruscan)

Let’s start with this ancient site of the Etruscans—and even pre-Etruscans—found behind a beautiful promontory off the Tuscan coast. It would be a pretty place to visit (the Etruscans had a great eye for gorgeous real estate) even if there were no historical ruins, but there are, in spades. The ancient port where hematite from the Island of Elba was made into iron, is now an archeological park containing a stunning necropolis carved into the cliffs, and some intriguing freestanding tombs that changed in design and execution through the centuries before the Romans. The experimental part has demonstrations in ancient crafting of daily goods. Do set a whole morning or afternoon aside; there’s walking involved if you want to do it right. Be sure to check the hours of operation, for this is Italy where few things happen the same way—or the same hour—twice.

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