The Etruscan Next Door: Part II

November 29, 2012 / Art & Archaeology

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Women’s Liberation, B.C.

In Etruscan society, women were respected and fully engaged in their community.  You might say Etruria was the first “community property state”; women owned land and homes just as men did.  Perhaps a bit envious, a Greek man once was quoted to have critically bellowed, “Etruscan women sit around sipping wine with their husbands under the same blanket.”  That sounds like “sour grapes” to me.

Gli Etruschi Mangiano Bene

As their neighbor, it’s conceivable you’d be invited to their house for dinner.  Porchetta, a common Umbrian dish, was laid down on many an Etruscan table centuries ago – still made by the same formula today – pork stuffed with wild fennel, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper, then roasted.  Lorenzo Polgeri, owner of Ristorante Zeppelin writes in his book The Etruscan Chief, “Our ancestors were great farmers of cereals and grains.  They created the core of our cuisine with ancient cereals like barley and farro, and legumes rich in protein like chickpeas, fava beans and lentils.”  There’s evidence they produced cheese and flatbread…pizza? After dinner they drank wine while lounging on the couch listening to music.

The Mystic Etruscans

Most of what we know about Etruscans is speculation, however, experts have pieced together a clearer picture of Etruscan life based on artifacts found in archeological digs such as the one by Mr. Bizzarri’s team.  This new find will hopefully shed more light on the mysterious lives of Etruscans.  But will we ever be sure what it was like to be them?  Ahh.. to be an ancient fly on a tufa wall!

Toni DeBella

by Toni DeBella

A Freelance writer and blogger at Orvieto or Bust, Toni recently packed everything she owns into two suitcases and headed to Orvieto, Italy.  She’s adjusted her tennis game to the clay courts and drinks way too many caffe lattes. 

12 Responses to “The Etruscan Next Door: Part II”

  1. Angela Finch

    What a pity the Romans were such misogynists. They should have learnt from their predecessors who sound a wonderful bunch of people having viewed their wonderful tombs.

    I think you can safely say that they were just like us. The same hopes, fears, joys, jokes may have been different but even they would be recognisable.

    • Toni DeBella

      You are right. They are mysterious in a lot of ways, but there is something that one feels about them. You right, I think maybe the Etruscans were humanists…toni

  2. I didn’t know that the Etruscans were the first feminists! That’s fascinating. There’s so much to explore about them, little by little. Thanks for this!

  3. Toni DeBella

    Hi Barbara,
    Isn’t it wonderful that we can learn something new everyday? I didn’t know any of these fascinating factoids about the Etruscans until I spoke with Claudio. Thanks for reading. Hugs. toni

  4. Pat Carney-Ceccarelli

    Hello Toni- so good sharing information on this amazing culture- it is also my passion. those interested might look at a project by my friend,Frida,who is farming and building like Etruscan women did! More info on Frida and her agriculture and earth architecture will be in an Italian notebook post! Also readers in Rome might want to visit the Villa Giulia-the wonderful Museum of Etruscan art and culture. I just came back from an exhitbion there on Art objects returned to Italy. Cheers from pat!

  5. I’m amazed that we know so much about Etruscan culture and I’m delighted to know that women were held in such high regard. I only wish that it hadn’t taken 2500 years to reclaim that position in western society.


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