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May 15, 2012 / TAB

Lazio- Norchia

Norchia is an ancient multilevel Etruscan necropolis near Viterbo, unusual because it is carved into the cliffside. The settlement was at its peak between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC. It is not as old as the ones in Tarquinia and Cerveteri. After parking at the end of a road and walking a tractor path through fields of wild flowers we reached the top of a ravine. Other than the small marker, you would not know what awaits you down the cliffside. The access is not easy and the overgrowth makes it difficult to see the vastness of the carvings. The main path is a barely controlled slide down an eroded cliffside with some remanents of carved steps. There are the ruins beyond of a medieval castle but it would take a machete or power tools to get up the hillside.

As usual, Stefano, my guide, was patient and an extremely good sport, tackling the steep and dusty paths in his good suit and dress shoes. His tour company (http://www.stefanorometours.com/) is a great way to see some real “off the beaten track” sites.

Click photos to see full size slideshow.

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