Popular Archaeology collaborates with Wayfaring Walks to visit ancient Etruscan sites in Italy

Participants will undertake an up-close-and-personal hiking experience among ancient hilltop towns in Umbria and Tuscany.

Far from the crunch of the madding crowd one typically encounters with the big Italian tourist sites in places like Rome, Florence, Venice, and Naples, a small group of travelers will have the opportunity to explore spectacular off-the-beaten-path sites scattered across the Italian provinces of Umbria and Tuscany. The sites, mostly situated at or near aesthetically scenic and historic Medieval and Etruscan hilltop towns and villages, will define a picture of the Etruscans, the ancient civilization that preceded the Romans. The Etruscans dominated most of the Italian peninsula for centuries, and heavily influenced the culture and character of the civilization that eventually became the Roman Empire.

What distinguishes this tour from most other tours revolves around one human activity — walking. Rather than shuttling large groups of tourists from one congested site after another in chartered buses or vans, this comparatively smaller group will spend the majority of its time hiking across the countryside, taking ancient paths, roads and trails in between up-close-and-personal historic, cultural and archaeological sites that tell the story of the ancient Etruscans as well as the later Medieval and Roman periods.

“Unlike the typical tourist-type experience, this group will be hiking through country that most people, other than the local population, do not see. It will be a more intimate encounter with the landscape and people of ancient and historic Italy,” says Dan McLerran, founder and editor of Popular Archaeology Magazine, who will be personally participating in the walk. “Along with this, the mere act of walking has a profound impact on personal health, both physically and mentally/emotionally. In our mad dash in life to tick off the tasks we have created for ourselves in this life, we forget to ‘smell the flowers’ and nurture closer relationships with others along the way — the very things that make life worth living.”

The trip plan, created and operated by Wayfaring Walks, will take participants to towns that feature ancient and Medieval architecture set high atop rocky, cliff-like formations, as well as anciently-carved and constructed tombs and underground habitations beneath.

“Along with developing new relationships with like-minded people participating in the walk, this will be a photographer’s paradise, so if you are into creating distinctive and artistic images with your camera, this will be an excellent opportunity to do so,” added McLerran.

The towns the group will encounter are among the most scenically picturesque in Italy, affording views not encountered by most vacationing visitors. Moreover, the experience promises to focus on education as well, expanding the participant’s understanding of the ancient and historic cultures encountered.

The walk (September 29 – October 5, 2024) is open to anyone interested, although individuals who are premium subscribers to Popular Archaeology Magazine will be offered a $500 discount on the trip price (for the first 4 who register). Subscriber participants who indicate a willingness will be interviewed for their thoughts and impressions, which will be published in a special article to be released in the winter 2025 issue of the magazine (mid-January).

Anyone who is interested in participating in this experience should email the magazine at populararchaeology@gmail.com before registering, so that they can be identified for the $500 discount.

As a bonus, interested group participants will have the opportunity to visit the spectacular ancient Etruscan site of Tarquinia separately from the walk afterwards, so if there is anyone who wishes to participate in this activity, please let us know by emailing Popular Archaeology at populararchaeology@gmail.com.

For more information about this, and how to register, go to Etruscan Hilltop Towns at https://www.wayfaringwalks.com/tour/etruscan-hilltop-towns/. For current premium subscribers to Popular Archaeology Magazine, go to https://www.wayfaringwalks.com/welcome-popular-archaeology-subscribers/

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View of Civita Bagnoregio, one of the towns to be visited. Orlando Paride, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license, Wikimedia Commons

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Orvieto. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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Pozzo di San Patrizio, Orvieto. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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Sorano. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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The Citta del Tufo Archaeological Park. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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Sorano Castle stairs. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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Pitigliano, illuminated. Courtesy Wayfaring Walks

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