Etruscans, Rome, and Texas
Long ago, this native Texas boy was very lucky to be able to live in Rome. Having already studied Latin, he was able to add Italian, Spanish, German, some French, some Portuguese, some Old English (Anglo-Saxon), some Gaelic, some Catalan, some Romanian, some Russian, some Greek, and even a bad word or two in Polish (thanks to the OSU, who learned them from her vodka-drinking Polish aunts in the kitchen in Chicago). And, of course, my curious favorites, the Etruscans.
The Etruscans had a huge influence over the Romans. Living in Italy in what is now Tuscany (and Umbria and Lazio and Emilia Romagna, etc.), the Etruscans ruled Rome for a short while during the period of the kings...but this was the period in which religious, civic, and military institutions were formed, elements of which persisted to the end of the Empire (and even today!).
So while you may know all about pasta and pizza and cheap red wine...if you don't know the Etruscans, you don't know Rome!