21km (13 miles) SE of Montepulciano; 89km (55 miles) SE of Siena; 151km (94 miles) SE of Florence; 165km (103 miles) N of Rome

One of southern Tuscany's smaller hilltop cities, Chiusi doesn't transport you to the Middle Ages or wow you with the Renaissance. You come to Chiusi for one thing: Etruscans.

Alternately spelled Camars or Clevsins, the Etruscan center here was of considerable importance in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. One of the more powerful among the Etruscan 12-city confederation, it was ruled in the late 500s B.C. by the lucumo (king) Lars Porsenna, who was famous for attacking Rome from 507 to 506 B.C. Like Cortona just up the Valdichiana, the lowlands around Chiusi are a treasure-trove of tombs, some of which you may visit with a guide. And the less famous ones are open to anyone armed with a good map, a few oranges in their pocket, and half a day to explore the valley on their own. Chiusi's excellent restaurants await you after a hard day's tomb hunting.