Ingrid D. Rowland

The Villa Scornello (above) lies in the shadow of Volterra, an ancient city 35 miles southwest of Florence, Italy. In 1634 the young Curzio Inghirami, whose family owned the villa, claimed to have found mysterious writings by an Etruscan priest named Prospero of Fiesole. He described his finds in a 1636 book titled Ethruscarum Antiquitatum Fragmenta, which prompted intense debate about the authenticity of the finds. The truth did not come out until decades after Curzio’s death in 1655: His “finds” were his forgeries, but he had fooled some of the best scholars of his day.