1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vetulonium

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VETULONIUM, or Vetulonia (Etruscan Veltuna), an ancient town of Etruria, Italy, the site of which is probably occupied by the modern village of Vetulonia, which up to 1887 bore the name of Colonna. It lies 1130 ft. above sea-level, about 10 m. direct N.W. of Grosseto, on the N.E. side of the hills which project from the flat Maremma and form the promontory of Castiglione. The place is little mentioned in ancient literature, though Silius Italicus tells us that it was hence that the Romans took their magisterial insignia (fasces, curule chair, purple toga and brazen trumpets), and it was undoubtedly one the twelve cities of Etruria. Its site was not identified before 1881, and the identification has been denied in various works by C. Dotto dei Dauli, who places it on the Poggio Castiglione near Massa Marittima, where scanty remains of buildings (possibly of city walls) have also been found. This site seems to agree better with the indications of medieval documents. But certainly an Etruscan city was situated on the hill of Colonna, where there are remains of city walls of massive limestone, in almost horizontal courses. The objects discovered in its extensive necropolis, where over 1000 tombs have been excavated, are now in the museums of Grosseto and Florence. The most important were surrounded by tumuli, which still form a prominent feature in the landscape.

See G. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (London, 1883), ii. 263; Notizei degli Scavi, passim; I. Falchi, Ricerche di Vetulonia (Prato, 1881), and other works, especially Vetulonia e la sua necropoli antichissima (Florence, 1891); G. Sordini, Vetulonia (Spoleto, 1894) and references. (T. As.)