A natural boundary and an element for trade, for centuries the Tiber River marked the border between the Umbrian peoples on its left bank, and the Etruscans on the right. This waterway, which crosses most of present-day Umbria, also played a fundamental role in the economic and cultural exchanges between the peoples linked to the Tiber.
The river’s historical importance in the area is substantiated also by literary sources, which describe it as being very navigable and suitable for the transporting of goods. It is also known that a series of locks made from palings were built to make navigation possible when the river was running low. This technique, described by Pliny, was used in Roman times and in subsequent centuries, appears to be verified by a number of remains.