The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization, was the earliest Iron Age culture of Central Italy and Northern Italy. It directly followed the Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture which branched off from the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. This gave way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders and colonists who settled in South Italy.
The Villanovans introduced iron-working to the Italian Peninsula. They practiced cremation and buried the ashes of their dead in pottery urns of distinctive double-cone shape.