Here is a journey from Florence to Rome, two cities that represent very different elements in the history of Italian art and culture as it has developed through the centuries. In making this journey we pass through the land of the Etruscans, the fabled a Tyrrhenians > of Herodotus. They came from the East, landed on the shores of Tuscany and quickly spread out round the lakes and volcanic hills of the interior until they reached the shores of the Adriatic.
They founded the first great civilization of Western Europe: they were fond of the good things of life-luxury, jewels and good food. Their cities rivalled each other in wealth and power, but they were not alive to the need to make a common front against their half-barbarian and turbulent neighbour, Rome which began to press up from the south. Its march to world domination had begun. One by one the Etruscan cities were conquered and burnt.
When the long history of Rome closed, ancient Etruria rose again and her cities were rebuilt close to the sites of the ancient ones. With the mediaeval communes the old indivualistic and rather anarchic rivalry of cities began again. Tuscany revenged defeated Etruria. Even while they shared in the flowering of the Renaissance, Florence and Rome maintained their essential difference, the one measured and balanced, the other grandiloquent and massive. In this land, which lies et the very heart of Italy, there is a mingling of all kinds of elements Roman, Etruscan, Medieval, Renaissance, in the abbeys and the cities.