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Roselle Archaeological Area

Located 10 km from Grosseto, point of passage between the Valley of Ombrone river and Grosseto, Roselle lucumonie is one of the best preserved in the central region of Etruria, situated on the shore of ancient Lake Prile, Roselle is now one of most interesting archaeological zones of Italy. The overlapping of buildings and walls belonging to civility Villanova, Etruscan and Roman city makes this an interesting insight into the gradual shift common to all cities of this territory, the discovery of Attic vases with red figures suggest a flourishing trade with Greece and the Greek colonies of southern Italy. 

Founded in the seventh century BC, Roselle is a coastal town on the ancient lake Prile important for fishing and trade with the Etruscan cities of the interior. Cited by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, one of the city that brought aid to the Latins in the war against Tarquinio Prisco. One of the major Etruscan city of Roselle area grew at the expense of neighboring lucumonie Vetulonia in particular, hitherto the most important Etruscan town of the Maremma. 

In 294 BC Roselle was invaded by the overwhelming power of Rome who enlarged and beautified the city with spas, villas and an amphitheater among the best preserved of the area. Under the Empire Roselle became Augustus, the Roman town and later became a colony. In this period arose the most important monuments such as the Forum and the Basilica, a system of collection of rainwater and of course a spa building.

In the sixth century it was invaded by barbarians and Roselle lost its primacy, then followed the decline of the Maremma in the Middle Ages because of the advancement of land at the mouth of the river Ombrone, that formed a lagoon and then a plain unhealthy and plagued by malaria and Roselle was virtually abandoned until the reclamation area to the work of Pietro Leopoldo to the ‘700. In the 50 Roselle was brought to light in all its entirety by a long campaign of excavations.

Archaeological Area of Vetulonia

The village is of Etruscan origin. Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote about it: according to his scripts, Vetulonia in the seventh century BC was allied with the Latins against Rome, and alsoSilius Italico, who wrote that Etruscan village derived from the insignia of Roman power (and the archaeological excavations would tend to confirm this thesis, at least as regards the fasces), Pliny and Tolemy.

In the village are the famous walls of the Ark called cyclopean, built probably in the sixth and fifth centuries BC, which are evidence of a major urban center. The discovery of several coins (especially copper) established its hegemony economic autonomy. At the height of its power, Vetulonia was an important commercial center, where many jewelers worked. Subsequently it lost importance and with the birth of the Roman Empire, became a town of secondary importance. In the square is the Archaeological Museum Isidoro Falchi, renovated and opened in June 2000. 

In the 70′ it was a multipurpose building: on the ground floor were the library and a small cinema, while on the first floor a primary school and a medical clinic will occupy the spaces. Since 1978 had been set up a small Etruscan museum, but in 1981 a theft of exhibits determines its closure for 19 long years. 

The new museum, dedicated to Isidoro Falchi, discoverer of many remains of ancient Etruscan Vetluna, exposes the remains found in Etruscan tombs and excavations in the city. The objects, dating between the tenth and the first century BC, show the important role that Vetulonia occupied within contemporary Etruscan cities. We know very little about the medieval period of Vetulonia, even for the scarcity of documents.

With time, the town changed its name that of becoming first Colonnata and then to Colonna di Buriano, initially held by the bishops of Lucca, then fought over by the lords of Lambardi di Buriano and the abbey of San Bartolomeo di Sestinga, that latter became the owner around the year 1000. In 1323 the town of Massa Marittima bought this area, and nine years later became property to the town of Siena.

During the fourteenth century it became part of the Republic of Siena, under which it remained until mid-sixteenth century when it was incorporated in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Once several sites had been identified in the Maremma, you regain the certainty about its exact location until the nineteenth century thanks to the excavations of Isidoro Falchi, a physician and amateur archaeologist. So in 1887 a Royal Decree reassigned to the town its original name. Vetulonia in modern times reached the peak of population density in the seventies, with about 500 inhabitants.

The town of Cosa

The Roman city of Cosa represents the vestiges of the modern village of Ansedonia. In the archaeological site are worthy of note the walls, the National Archaeological Museum, the engineering works of the Tagliata Etrusca and the Queen’s Gap. 

Among several luxurious villas of modern times that characterize the location, are found some traces of history in a few isolated monuments. Among them we can mention the Tower of San Pancrazio and the Tower of San Biagio, of medieval origin, near which is the Chapel of San Biagio, built in the late-medieval on an ancient Roman mausoleum.


The Tagliata Etrusca

The Tagliata Etrusca is a remarkable work of engineering, dating back to the Etruscan-Roman period. This is a channel cut into the rock along the coast south-east of the cape, designed to prevent the silting up of the old port by creating a system of counter-currents coming from the sea and not far from the channel outlet of Lake Burano. 

This remarkable engineering opera was completed by the Queen’s Gap, a major split in the hill above that develops along some passages cut artificially. Worthy of note are the sixteenth-century Torre della Tagliata, that was converted into a dwelling in later centuries and in which Giacomo Puccini, the famous composer, lived.


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