The origins of Roman architecture can be traced to the Etruscans, who migrated from Asia Minor to Italy in the 12th cent. B.C. What little is known about their architecture has been ascertained from clay models and tomb interiors. Etruscan architecture is thought to have derived from prototypes found in the nearby Greek colonies in southern Italy established during the 8th and 7th cent. B.C. The Etruscans are thought to have used arches and vaults in their later architecture.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.