O. Louis Mazzatenta/National Geographic Image Collection

Surrounded by wheat fields, the hilltop town of Monteriggioni is located in the heart of Etruria. A number of Etruscan tombs have been found in the vicinity of the town, suggesting that this plain may have been the site of an Etruscan settlement. The harvesting of wheat, which grows abundantly in the central Italian countryside, was a major part of the ancient Etruscan economy, as was the production of bronze and iron. Demand for these metals abroad was heavy, and the Etruscans sold them to Egyptian traders, among others, in exchange for gold, highly prized in Etruria’s wealthy households.