The Early Iron Age civilization of the villages from which the later Etruscan communities developed in an unbroken sequence is known as the Villanovan, a name derived from that of a site east of Bologna. Written Etruscan is attested from the beginning of the seventh century BC by ca. 13000 inscriptions, mostly of the fifth-second centuries BC and concentrated in Etruria proper, between the Tiber and the Arno.
The Etruscan emerged in sometimes before 800 BC and who developed an advanced civilization that reach its height in the seventh and sixth century.
By the 700 BC they controlled a domain extending south to Campania, on the Bay of Naples. When the first Greek traders began arriving at the Campanian coast after 775 BC, it was probably the Etruscans, as overloads of the region, who invited the newcomers to make a permanent colony at Cumae.
Etruscan tomb painting
The Etruscan received important influences from the Greeks as soon as large scale trade with them began. They adopted the Greek alphabet in about 700 BC; writing seems to have been used as a sign of elite status.
After 450 BC the Greek and Etruscan trading networks were increasing stress from the growing power of expansionist Rome until, by the end of the fifth century BC, they had been completely disrupted by continual warfare in the western Mediterranean.