In ancient times, navigation represented the least costly and safest method for the transport of goods and people. The seas and navigable rivers were constantly plied by vessels carrying every type of goods.
As early as the 7th and 8th centuries BC, the Etruscan merchants reached every part of the Mediterranean in their ships.
The typical products exported were ceramics, in particular bucchero ware, and wine. The cargo ships were squat and pot-bellied, with the keel at times covered by a sheet of lead; the poop was high and curved, the sail was square and attached to the central mast. They used anchors of stone, and the ancients attributed their invention to the Etruscans. To steer the boat, the helmsman used two oars on the quarter-deck.