800 BC - 500 BC

The ancestors of the Etruscans were indigenous peoples living in central Italy during the Bronze Age. During the Iron Age, urban civilization spread throughout Etruria--Tarquinia was likely the oldest city and is the most famous. At the height of their power, the Etruscans dominated Italy from the Po River in the north to central Campania, but by the end of the third century BC, all of Etruria had fallen into Roman hands.

Etruscan art appears nowhere in the world outside of the Italian peninsula. It is founded upon the concepts, methods and progress of Greek art; early Etruscan art parallels Archaic Greek art in style. By the fifth and fourth centuries, Etruscan naturalistic forms begin to reflect the ideals of Greek Classical and Hellenistic art. Yet Etruscan art is not wholly Greek. Etruscan artists favored terracotta sculpture (including unique couples reclining atop sarcophagi), metalwork, particularly cast bronze, and frescoes.