Although little is visible of the ancient city, archaeology is increasingly revealing glimpses of its past glories. The site is not very far from Rome and one have to spend a couple of hours walking around to feel the incredible aura of the place.
Tarchuna or Tarkna was one of the most ancient and important it Etruscan cities. Tarchon the son of Tyrrhenus was the founder of the city, as the legend told us. From Tarkna two Etruscan noble people became king of ancient Rome: Lucius Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
Tarchuna was one of the twelve cities of the elegant and sophisticated Etruscan civilisation. In the intellectual darkness of the times, the Etruscans shine with cultural, religious and industrious prominence which can only be matched by the old and highly-respected Greek city states. Being in a league of their own, the Etruscan cities did not want to cooperate together to fight the expansion of the Romans not giving to them much importance at that time. Located comfortably at the centre of Etruscan territory, Tarchuna benefited from good trade relations with her neighbours and, traditionally, relied on her own military strength for safety. Moreover the city had an incredible Harbour which permitted incredibly wealthy commerce with all the Mediterranean civilizations and the eastern world.
Her ambitions were to maintain the favourable status quo in the region – one which predominantly benefited its own people. Rome was growing powerful and menacing to the south; the insurgent Gauls were becoming more numerous by the day, occupying lands to the north and east. Control of the sea is claimed by both the Greeks and Carthaginians. However it was not easy for the Romans to get all the territories and only after many difficult battles and fights became a roman colony.
Numerous Roman religious rites and ceremonies derived from the Etruscan Tarchuna and, even in imperial times a collegium of 60 haruspices (predicting the events) continued to exist. The city when Rome began its expansion
The Ara of the Queen (Ara della Regina) about IV b.C. is the site of the huge temple of which today is visible only the basement, since many of them were made of wood which deteriorated rapidly. The two winged horses found in here are now in the National Museum in Tarquinia. I can of course see many similarities with the ancient Greek temples in Sicily, Te Magna Grecia (Selinunte or Agrigento) which where build in the same visible and on top of Hills as this one. Too bad the entire area is quite abandoned and even if many new archaeological excavations during the summer are going on, nothing of it is known or shown for the passionate people like me! At least I managed to talke some beautiful pics of this pavement which shows the flowers of life also very much utilized by the Templars in their churches and sites. The feelings of this place are wonderful and if visiting Rome you should come to Tarquinia and visit the acropolis and the amazing necropolis with the marvelous painted walls.
In front of the temple, there was the heart of the city with one of its northern ancient entrances and on a hill further on the sacred area in where there is this votive well (shown in the short video below).