The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late-bronze age culture that appeared in Italy in the 12th century BC. It was part of the central European Urnfield culture, similarity had been noted in particular with the regional groups of Bavaria - Upper Austria  and of the middle-Danube. Marija Gimbutas associated this culture with the arrival of the proto-Italics.
Proto-Villanovan sites are present all over the Italian peninsula mostly in the northern-central part but also, to a lesser degree, in Southern Italy and eastern Sicily. Among the most important can be named those of : Frattesina (Veneto), Bismantova and Ripa Calbana (Emilia-Romagna), Tolfa mountains (Lazio), Pianello di Genga (Marche), Ortucchio (Abruzzo), Timmari (Basilicata), Canosa (Puglia), Tropea (Calabria) and Milazzo (Sicily).
Settlements, usually of small dimensions, were built on hills and circundated with fortifications.
The economy was mostly incentrated on agro-pastoral activities and metallurgy.
Funerary customs 
The proto-Villanovans practiced cremation : the ashes were placed in biconic urns, often decorated with geometric designs.
After a period of considerable uniformity (12th–9th century BC) from north to south, the Proto-Villanovan culture show a process of regionalization ; starting from c. 950 BC, new regional culture such as the Este culture, Latial culture and the Villanovan culture appeared. Although these new culture show many similarity with the precedent Proto-Villanovan culture, especially in the funerary customs, they also show innovations.
- M.Gimbutas - Bronze Age Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe p.339-345
- John M. Coles - The Bronze Age in Europe: An Introduction to the Prehistory of Europe C. 2000–700 BC, p.422
See also 
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