Villanovan culture, the culture of a people of N Italy in the early Iron Age (c.1100–700 BC). The term is derived from the town of Villanova, near Bologna, where the first excavations of a Villanovan cemetery were conducted (1853–55). The Villanovans are believed to have come into Italy from Central Europe, the third of a wave of Central European-Danubian invasions. The Villanovans brought with them a reasonably advanced Iron Age culture, closely related to the Hallstatt culture of the E Alps. They lived over a large part of central Italy, including Etruria, Latium, and the region around Bologna. The Villanovans cremated their dead and buried the ashes in urns. The Villanovans were followed by the Etruscans (see Etruscan civilization).
See D. Randall-MacIver, Villanovans and Early Etruscans (1924); H. J. Rose, Primitive Culture in Italy (1926, repr. 1971); L. Barfield, Northern Italy before Rome (1971).