Etruria — usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia — was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H. Lawrence's Sketches of Etruscan Places and other Italian essays.
The ancient people of Etruria are labelled Etruscans and their complex culture was centered on numerous city-states that rose during the Villanovan period in the ninth century BC and were very powerful during the Orientalizing and Archaic periods. The Etruscans were a dominant culture in Italy by 650 BC, surpassing other ancient Italic peoples such as the Ligurians, and their influence may be seen beyond Etruria's confines in the Po River Valley and Latium, as well as in Campania and through their contact with the Greek colonies in Southern Italy (including Sicily). Indeed, at some Etruscan tombs, such at those of the Tumulus di Montefortini at Comeana (see Carmignano) in Tuscany, physical evidence of trade has been found in the form of grave goods — fine faience ware cups are particularly notable examples. Such trade occurred either directly with Egypt, or through intermediaries such as Greek or Etruscan sailors.
Rome was influenced strongly by the Etruscans, with a series of Etruscan kings ruling at Rome until 509 BC when the last Etruscan king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was removed from power and the Roman Republic was established. The Etruscans are credited with influencing Rome's architecture and ritual practice; it was under the Etruscan kings that important structures such as the Capitolium, Cloaca Maxima and Via Sacra were realized.
The Etruscan civilization was responsible for much of the Greek culture imported into early Republican Rome, including the twelve Olympian gods, the growing of olives and grapes, the Latin alphabet (adapted from the Greek alphabet), and architecture like the arch, sewerage and drainage systems.