The Italians, an Indo-European people, had settled on the Italian peninsula by 1000 B.C.Around 900 B.C., the Etruscans, a non-Indo-European people, began to develop a civilization on the west coast. They formed 12 city-states that together came to be known as Etruria. To the south was Latium, established by Latins, an Italian people, with Rome as its strongest city. Farther south were the Greek colonies.

By the middle of the sixth century B.C.the Etruscans dominated Italy from the Po River valley to Naples. Greeks and Romans cooperated in driving back the Etruscans. Raids by Gauls, who had crossed the Alps and settled in the Po Valley, helped weaken Etruria, and it rapidly declined.

In the fourth century B.C.the Greeks made several attempts to conquer the Italians, but in the third century the Greek colonies fell to Rome. From that time until the collapse of the Roman Empire, the history of Italy coincides with the history of Rome.

Appian Way.Appian Way. The Appian Way is an ancient Roman highway that was named for Appius Claudius Caecus, who began its construction in 312 B.C. The highway, which runs from Rome to Brundisium, is lined with the ruins of the tombs of prominent Romans. It is still in use.