The place is little mentioned in ancient literature, though Silius Italicus tells us that it was hence that the Romans took their magisterial insignia (fasces, curule chair, purple toga and brazen trumpets), and it was undoubtedly one of the twelve cities of Etruria.
Its pliant and flexible branches are made into brooms; and in ancient Rome the fasces of the lictors, with which they cleared the way for the magistrates, were made up of birch rods.
FASCES, in Roman antiquities, bundles of elm or birch rods from which the head of an axe projected, fastened together by a red strap. Nothing is known of their origin, the tradition that represents them as borrowed by one of the kings from Etruria resting on insufficient grounds.
The lictors and the fasces were so inseparably connected that they came to be used as synonymous terms. The fasces originally represented the power over life and limb possessed by the kings, and after the abolition of the monarchy, the consuls, like the kings, were preceded by twelve fasces.
Valerius Publicola, the champion of popular rights, further established the custom that the fasces should be lowered before the people, as the real representatives of sovereignty (Livy ii.