Vulci is an ancient Etruscan city located near the modern town Canino, which is in the northern part of Tuscia known as Viterbo.
Sure it's not technically in the Maremma or even Tuscany, but it's a very short drive from Manciano and I really couldn't justify leaving it out. Most of the locals can't really agree on where Tuscany ends and Lazio begins anyway!
Amazingly, Vulci has been abandoned since the Etruscans and Romans left it in around the 8th century BC. Now a very protected piece of Italian history, the land is a open-air museum that stretches across acres and acres of lush green fields.
When you visit Vulci you are visiting an Etruscan city, complete with houses, monuments, statues, meeting halls, public bathes and necropolises. There are few places in the world where you can visit an almost entirely intact ancient city like Vulci. Think of it as the Machu Picchu of Italy.
And it isn't just a bunch of rubble either. Italian archeologists have spent the last decades restoring this breathtakingly ancient city and many of its buildings are beautifully conserved right down to their still visible and vibrantly coloured terracotta tiles.
During the age of the Etruscans and Romans, Vulci was essentially a city for the rich and famous. It was a cultural hub and a place for commerce and trade, thanks to its vicinity to the sea and easily defensible position in the hills.
This means that the houses were bigger and better built. They were covered in stunning frescoes and some even had their own inner courtyards. The burial tombs are also bigger and more elaborate, divided into a series of rooms.
Just so you know, Vulci isn't your typical museum. You need an entire day to explore every nook and crany of this gorgeous and ancient city and you really don't want to miss a thing.
Luckily you don't have to be a history buff to known what each building or ruin is as kind local historians have provided maps and informational panels that not only explain what you're looking at, but also the history and importance of the city as a whole.
If you do visit Vulci, and you really should, make sure you wear comfortable shoes, bring a bottle of water and pray for good weather. You really can't appreciate an open-air museum in the rain, and Vulci is too important and beautiful to miss.
Address: Loc. 01014 Montalto di Castro, Viterbo
January, Feb, March, Oct, Nov, Dec: Monday-Sunday: 9am-5pm, Tuesday: 2pm-5pm
April, May, June, July, August, September: every day: 10am-6pm
Entry Price: €8 for adults, €5 for children aged 6-13 and adults older than 65, and free for children younger than 6
For more info: Visit the official Vulci website.
Photos from left to right: Mararie, Alessandro Colombi, Steven Zucker, Etrvsco and Alessando Colombi via Flickr.