27 panoramica

Venafro - La città romana

Via mura ciclopiche
Venafro (IS)

Tel. 0865 900742 (museo archeologico)

Orario di apertura:
Per la visita rivolgersi al museo

The upper Volturno valley is in the most western part of ​​Pentrian Samnium. Here, the Venafro plain represents the fastest route into Samnium from Campania and Latium, and as a result the town has from the earliest times been of primary strategic and commercial importance.
The precise date at which a settlement was established on the slopes of Monte S. Croce cannot be determined, but it is certain that a sanctuary, at the foot of the mountain, was frequented from at least the 4th century B.C. and its presence would almost certainly have influenced the development of the settlement. The only remaining visible part of this sanctuary is a section of polygonal terracing, located uphill from the modern town in a very dominant position. At the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., at the end of the Samnite wars, Venafro was the main centre in this part of ​​the Volturno valley and around the middle of the century, entered the Roman administrative system, as a praefectura. The town continued to develop during the 1st century B.C., reaching its height at the time of the foundation of the Augustan colony, most probably in, 14 B.C. There followed a general restructuring of the town with the insertion of a system of orthogonal roads and the construction of major public (theatre, amphitheatre) and private buildings, such as the numerous dwellings (domus).
This situation changed during the middle of the 4th century A.D., due to the earthquake that disrupted areas all across Samnium and Campania. The population abandoned the western sector of the town and became concentrated in the higher. eastern part of the city, where a medieval village later grew up.
The theatre was built in the Augustan period on the slopes of Monte S. Croce on the same line of terracing as the ancient Republican sanctuary, so as to constitute a monumental and spectacular feature of the city. In the 2nd century A.D. a large nymphaeum was constructed to the west of the theatre. Later, a water supply system was built to provide water for particular types of spectacles held in the orchestra. The earthquake of 346 A.D. led to the abandonment of the theatre and the dismantling of part of the architectural and sculptural decorations. In the 5th century some parts of the monument were used as shelters and private dwellings.
The amphitheatre (the so-called Verlascio or Verlasce) is constructed during the1st century A.D. just outside of town. It is preserved thanks to the construction of rural dwellings on top of the Roman ruins during the 17th century. It is known that each entrance was marked by an inscription recording that the construction of the monument was partially funded by a member of the gens Vibia, one of the most important families of Venafro in the imperial age.