Between the Greeks and the Etruscans, the ancient inhabitants of Italy were farmers and shepherds. The closest to the Etruscans were called Latins and their country was called Lazio, it was a land of mountains, hills, woods and fertile plains. Rivers and streams descended into the valley but then stopped, becoming swampy and finding the path to the sea blocked by sand dunes. The areas then became swamps full of mosquitoes and malaria proliferated. The populations lived in the hills and went down to the plains only to graze the cattle.