After a visit to UNESCO world heritage sites of Tarquinia and Cerveteri north of Rome, one is ready for the rock hewn Etruscan necropolis of Norchia, near Vetralla. Since George Dennis clambered down the gorge to inspect its imposing rock hewn tombs in the 1840s, this site has been little known except to archeologists and Indiana Jones types who enjoy a good trek.
The imposing rock tombs of the necropolis belonged to the Etruscan city of Orcle, once a powerful center along the Via Clodia connecting Tarquinia with the inland cities of the Etruscan league.
After crossing an open field where shepherds graze their flocks an iron banister signals the starting point for descent into the valley of the tombs.
Here is one of the best echo points ever: shout your name or even a short sentence and the sound will rebound clearly and loudly off the medieval castle wall that lies directly across the valley.
A huge colony of crow-like jackdaws live in the nooks of Norchia’s medieval ruins and “commute” to Vetralla daily where they spend the day circling the town or perched on the façade of the Duomo. At sunset they gather in raucous groups to return to their night roost, following the sunset towards Norchia.