For centuries Vetulonia was a mythological Etruscan city, a famous city of the Etruscan Dodecapoli, an economic, political and artistic power of the time, but of which all traces were completely lost, as if it had vanished. All that remained of Vetulonia were citations in ancient texts, such as the works of Dionysius of Halicarnassus that recalled it as allied with the Latins to oppose Rome in the 7th century BC, or the work of Silius Italico, which told how Rome had taken the symbols of power from Vetulonia: the fasces, the bordered toga and the curule chair (in fact the curule were magistrates endowed with jurisdiction, for whom this so-called saddle or chair was reserved); or Pliny who mentioned Vetulonia in regard to the administrative division of Etruria in the Augustan age.
The visit to Vetulonia can start with the monumental Etruscan tombs found at the foot of the hill that hosts the city. They can be reached by following the well-marked dirt road that goes by the tombs. The Tomb of the Belvedere immediately comes into view, then the Tomb of Pietrera from which the statue of Pietrera comes. Created in 630 BC, it is one of the oldest examples of Etruscan monumental sculpture. Continuing along the road by the tombs, the Tomb of the Diavolino II is next (it should be remembered that the Tomb of Diavolino I was dismantled in 1800 and rebuilt in the garden of the Archaeological Museum in Florence) and finally the Tomb of the Gold Fibula. These tombs date back to the 7th- 6th centuries BC and during the excavations, some true treasures were unearthed: masterpieces of jewellery, oriental vases, carts, helmets, shin guards, shields, spears, statues, gold and silver coins bearing the ancient name Vatl (Vatluna was the Etruscan place name).