September trip to Italy, just North of Rome, the Bel Paese. A chance to encounter the Etruscans.

Just arrived- hotel roof view
Just arrived- hotel roof view

Gazing across the terra cotta rooftops, already I breath deeply, glad to be here. The Etruscans were based in this region. Who and when were the Etruscans ? I learn that Rome in the early days was deeply influenced by this older, more hidden  civilisation. The Romans arrived when the Etruscans had been around for two centuries.

I am interested to encounter the influence of the most civilised Etruscans on Roman then Italian culture.

How about this, happening now in the town of Viterbo where I’m staying. Many men carry the tower once a year through the town. They apply for the honour to be bearers. Each they add to its height so it grows even taller. The community celebrates one of their patron saints and her miracle. She is part of their collective identity Is there a link to the Etruscans ? Not directly. I find it fascinating to witness the commitment shown towards Santa Rosa.

Solemn Procession of Santa Maria's tower through the town
Solemn Procession of Santa Maria’s tower through the town


Santa Maria's two ton tower
Santa Maria’s two ton tower
Modern statue of Santa Maria's tower- it speaks to the comunity
Modern statue of Santa Maria’s tower.
Clerics processing into San Lorenzo church
Clerics processing into San Lorenzo church, stage for joining the Franchegina pilgrimage. I met two cheerful Irish women setting off as pilgrims from here. Enough for now, a visit to the Monster Park comes in Part 2.