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Roman remains in Umbria, Italy - bridges, theatres, temples
Umbria is named after its earliest identifiable inhabitants, the Umbri tribe, who settled in parts of what is now Umbria in the 6th century BC. Their language was Umbrian, a language related to Latin. The modern administrative Region of Umbria, however, covers a rather different area of Italy from that bearing the same name in Roman times. Roman Umbria extended through most of what is now the northern Marches, to Ravenna, but excluded the west bank of the Tiber – and thus for example Perugia, which was in Etrucia – and the area around Norcia, which was in the territory of the Sabines.
The importance of Umbria in Roman and mediaeval times was intimately bound up with the Via Flaminia, the consular road that supplied Rome and served as a military highway into and out of Rome. Once the Roman empire collapsed, Umbria became a strategic territory fought over by the Church, the Lombards and the Byzantines, and suffered consequently, becoming partitioned among them and disappearing from history. The modern use of “Umbria” is due to a rebirth of local identity in the 17 C.
Because of its relative closeness to Rome, Umbria has a great many more Roman remains than Tuscany, and we list here some of those most interesting to the visitor to the principal towns of Umbria.
- the city walls of Assisi contain a great many Roman elements.
- the Temple of Minerva and the Forum.
- Roman houses including the remains of a wealthy Roman villa (domus) underneath the apse of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the remains of an Imperial Roman villa unearthed during an excavation inside Palazzo Giampè.
- a Roman cistern can be seen inside the Cathedral of San Rufino, where it forms the foundation of the bell tower.
Roman theatre, the second largest theatre in the Roman empire after the theatre of Marcellus in Rome.
Roman Mausoleum at Iguvium
The main and spectacular Roman remnant near Narni is the huge Roman bridge known as the “Bridge of Augustus” – photo at the top of the page.
Temple of Saint Michael Archangel (Tempio di San Michele Arcangelo) probably dating from the 5 C but constructed on the remains of a Roman temple which in its turn was built on a site sacred to the Etruscans.
- Spello is remarkable for the number and, in several cases, the intact state of its Roman gates, notably the Porta Venere and the Porta Consolare.
- Three Roman statues are displayed on the upper part of the Porta Consolare.
- The outline of the Roman amphitheatre can be discerned on the outskirts of Spello.
The Roman theatre, mostly recreated. The scene is occupied by the former church of St. Agatha.
Ponte Sanguinario, a Roman bridge 1st century BC. The bridge is now below ground level but is in an excellent state of preservation and easy to visit.
Roman amphitheatre (2 C AD) was converted into a fortress by Totila in 545. Now only partially visible but long sections of the lower ambulacrum, together with a part of the upper ambulacrum, can still be seen.
Casa Romana (Roman House) next to the Palazzo Comunale, just above the level of the Roman Forum.
Ponte delle Torri, the most famous structure at Spoleto, is a striking 13 C aqueduct, possibly built on Roman foundations.
The Church of Sant’Ansano was constructed in the 18 C over a series of former buildings including a Roman temple (1st century AD).
The Basilica of San Salvatore (4 – 5 C) incorporates the cella of a Roman temple and is one of the most important examples of Early Christian architecture anywhere.
Other major Roman sites
Carsulae is an archaeological site not far from Terni, in southern Umbria. It was a prosperous halt on the consular Via Flaminia, equipped with thermal baths, theatres, temples and tombs.
Cascata delle Marmore, just a few km outside of Terni, is a waterfall created by the ancient Romans. The height is 165 m (514 feet), making it one of the tallest in Europe. Its flow is sometimes diverted in order to supply a power station. A path along the falls allows the visitor to hike up to the top of the falls.
Here are some similar topics:/> Spello Spello is vastly under-rated as a place to visit in Umbria, Italy. This quiet Umbrian hilltop (or, rather, ridge-top) town is a pleasure for those who love to explore the integration of Roman structures into a living town. Three well-preserved… /> Festivals of Umbria One of the great pleasures of a visit to Italy is to stumble across a local festival or fair (festa, sagre, fiera). Although there are a great many of these events - fairs, costumed festivals, patron saints' days etc. -… /> Spoleto Spoleto is well worth a visit both on account of its wonderful location on the slopes of the Apennines and for it Roman, mediaeval and Renaissance art and architecture. The history of Spoleto is long and illustrious and this is… /> Carsulae Carsulae is a quite well-preserved Roman city located in the Umbria countryside. Although not as spectacular as Pompeii and Herculaneum, Carsulae does nevertheless provide a readily comprehensible example of Roman city planning, with some of the major features of a… /> Assisi The “old town” of Assisi is not very large and can easily be explored on foot. The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly known as the Franciscan Order.…
Colosseum in Rome
Rome's Colosseum is one of the most visited sites in Italy and the largest Roman arena in the world. Built by Emperor Vespasian between 70 and 82 AD, it could hold up to 55,000 people and was most commonly used for gladiator and wild animal fights. Ticket lines can be very long so be sure to buy a ticket or pass in advance. Also in Rome, you can see remains of the Castrense Amphitheater, now part of the Aurelian walls.
The Remains of the Amphitheater at Pompeii
The elliptical structure is built of stone and measures 445 by 341 feet (136 by 104 meters). The design was originally based on a theatre but was adapted to host games and contests. The term derives from the ancient Greek amphitheatron, with amphi meaning ‘on both sides’ and theatron, meaning ‘place for viewing’.
The structure was situated in a natural depression and is supported on one side by an embankment. The tiered seating, or cavea, where the audience sat and watched the games was divided into three parts to reflect the number of social classes and is still well preserved, although much of the upper tier is now covered in grass. The local elite sat closest to the action.
The tunnels and tiered seating of Pompeii’s Amphitheater ( Leonid Andronov / Adobe Stock)
The original accessways to the amphitheater can still be seen and on either side of the circular arena two tunnels would have given access to the rival gladiators entering the arena. These access tunnels would also have been used to release the animals. Visitors can still walk where the brutal games took place.
This structure once held up to 20,000 people, a significant proportion of the population of the region. Unlike later amphitheaters, it does not have an underground section with tunnels.
Roman ruins of Carsulae, Umbria, Italy - stock video
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Ancient settlements always had a strict relationship with local geomorphology and landforms as they were of essential economic significance for thousands of years. In particular, the karst landforms offered important settlement locations of high palaeoenvironmental interest (Bruxelles, 2001). Dolines and karst landforms represented a favorable location for human activity for agriculture, resource extraction, quarrying and mineral exploitation, pottery and water resources. Many ancient cities depended on karst geology for their water (Crouch, 1993). The karst terrains are characterized by an extreme rate of changes due to its natural dynamical evolution representing a potential hazard for human activities. These latter could in turn produce an important impact on the karst environment equilibrium.
The settlement of Carsulae, an ancient Roman city in Central Italy, was built in the third century BCE in a strategic position along the consular Flaminia road, in a karstic environment characterized by dolines and limestone dissolution morphologies at Carsulae a large karstic landform was used to host an important building like the Roman amphitheatre (Fig. 1a). A small doline, located to the north of the decumanus road, partially collapsed during the city history, as evidenced by the deformation and re-building of the road (Fig. 1b). This episode was ascribed to seismic events by Bonini et al. (2003), whereas other studies rejected this hypothesis (Aringoli et al., 2009, Bottari and Sepe, 2013).
This study is furthermore focused on the comprehension of the relationship between the settlement of Carsulae and its karstic environment and how these evolving landforms could have interacted with the human settlement. Based on specific and updated/revised archaeological studies, an integrated geological, geomorphological and geophysical survey was carried out at the Carsulae archaeological site. In particular, this study exploits the advantage of combining geological, geomorphological and geophysical information for karst structure characterization (Chalikakis et al., 2011).
Based on specific and updated/revised archaeological studies, the integrated approach was made up of: four geognostic boreholes, five Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) profiles, two Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) profiles and Frequency-Domain Electro-Magnetic (FDEM) surveys.
The obtained results pointed out the general condition of the calcareous tufa basement, on which archaeological ruins lie, revealing its high alteration/dissolution status due to the groundwater circulation. In particular, we focused on the characterization of the doline located to the north of the decumanus since it represents a clear evidence of the dynamic interaction between an evolving karst system and a human settlement.
Map of Roman Amphitheatres
The map shows the spread of all surviving Roman amphitheatres. Click on the map or the following link to go through to the Interactive Map of the Roman World, where you can search for amphitheatres and other Roman sites. Clicking on the map links next to the name of each amphitheatre will take you to that amphitheatre on which ever map you choose, either a country map or the Roman map.
Besides finding the exact location, you can also zoom in on the map to get a bird&rsquos eye view of the amphitheatres. The varying degrees of preservation are immediately apparent when looking from above. Some of the amphitheatres, satellite photograph permitting, are very well preserved and quite a few details can be seen &ndash even from above. Others less so, but the general oval shape is easily discernible. In a few cases, Venafro in Italy or Agioi Deka in Greece, the amphitheatres were razed to the ground and other buildings constructed in its place &ndash the shape and size of the amphitheatre can clearly be seen in the arrangement of the new buildings.
Related modern building structures
Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, after Palermo, and among the ten largest cities in Italy. Located on Sicily's east coast, it faces the Ionian Sea. It is the capital of the 58-municipality region known as the Metropolitan City of Catania, which is the seventh-largest metropolitan city in Italy. The population of the city proper is 311,584, while the population of the Metropolitan City of Catania is 1,107,702.
The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, just east of the Roman Forum. It is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world today, despite its age. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian. The three emperors that were patrons of the work are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named the Flavian Amphitheatre by later classicists and archaeologists for its association with their family name (Flavius).
An amphitheatre or amphitheater is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek ἀμφιθέατρον (amphitheatron), from ἀμφί (amphi), meaning "on both sides" or "around" and θέατρον (théātron), meaning "place for viewing".
A stadium is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.
The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy built in the first century. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, the arena's capacity was nearly 30,000 people. The stage for concerts and opera performances decreases the available places to a maximum of 15,000. It will be used as the closing ceremony for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
The Theatre of Pompey was a structure in Ancient Rome built during the latter part of the Roman Republican era by Pompey the Great. Completed in 55 BC, it was the first permanent theatre to be built in Rome. Its ruins are located at Largo di Torre Argentina.
The Arènes de Lutèce are among the most important ancient Roman remains from the era in Paris, together with the Thermes de Cluny. Constructed in the 1st century AD, this theatre could once seat 15,000 people and was used also as an amphitheatre to show gladiatorial combats.
The Roman circus was a large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire. The circuses were similar to the ancient Greek hippodromes, although circuses served varying purposes and differed in design and construction. Along with theatres, amphitheatres, and the much similar but smaller stadiums, circuses were one of the main entertainment sites of the time. Circuses were venues for chariot races, horse races, gladiatorial combat, and performances that commemorated important events of the empire were performed there.
The Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre, situated in the French city of Nîmes. Built around 70 CE, shortly after the Coliseum of Rome, it is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. It is 133 meters long and 101 meters wide, with an arena measuring 68 meters by 38 meters. The outer facade is 21 meters high with two stories of 60 arcades. It is among the 20 largest Roman amphitheatres of the 400 in existence. In Roman times, the building could hold 24,000 spectators, who were spread over 34 tiers of terraces divided into four self-contained zones or maeniana. The arena served as a public event theatre built by the Romans as well as a gladiator fighting arena.
The Amphitheatre of Serdica was an amphitheatre in the Ancient Roman city of Ulpia Serdica, now Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Discovered in 2004 and the subject of excavations in 2005 and 2006, the ruins of the amphitheatre lie on two adjacent sites in the centre of modern Sofia. The amphitheatre was built in the 3rdth century AD on top of a 2ndrd century theatre which had been ravaged by the Goths. However, the amphitheatre remained in use for less than a century and was abandoned by the 5th century.
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum
Roman amphitheatres are Roman theatres – large, circular or oval open-air venues with raised seating – built by the ancient Romans. They were used for events such as gladiator combats, venationes and executions. About 230 Roman amphitheatres have been found across the area of the Roman Empire. Early amphitheatres date from the Republican period, though they became more monumental during the Imperial era.
Cirencester Amphitheatre was a Roman amphitheatre in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England. Its remains are scheduled as an ancient monument.
The Tours amphitheater is a Roman amphitheatre located in the historic city center of Tours, France, immediately behind the well known Tours cathedral. It was built in the 1st century when the city was called Caesarodunum. It was built atop a small hill on the outskirts of the ancient urban area, making it safe from floods, convenient for crowds and visitors, and demonstrating the power of the city from a distance. The structure was an enormous, elliptical structure approximately 122 meters by 94 meters. According to its design it is classified as a "primitive" amphitheatre. Unlike the famous Colosseum that was made mostly of masonry and built above-ground, the Tours amphitheatre was made mostly of earth and created by moving soil and rock into a bowl shape. Spectators likely sat directly on the grassy slopes, while the masonry was primarily used for the vomitoria and retaining walls.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Catania in the Sicily region of Italy.
The Roman amphitheatre of Syracuse is one of the best preserved structures in the city of Syracuse, Sicily, from the early Imperial period.
The Amphitheatre of Catania is a Roman amphitheatre in Catania, Sicily, southern Italy, built in the Roman Imperial period, probably in the 2nd century AD, on the northern edge of the ancient city at the base of the Montevergine hill. Only a small section of the structure is now visible, below ground level, to the north of Piazza Stesicoro. This area is now the historic centre of the city, but was then on the outskirts of the ancient town and also occupied by the necropoleis of Catania. The structure is part of the Parco archeologico greco-romano di Catania.
The Amphitheatre of Capua was a Roman amphitheatre in the city of Capua, second only to the Colosseum in size and probably the model for it. It may have been the first amphitheatre to be built by the Romans. and was the location of the first and most famous gladiator school.
The Roman amphitheatre of Italica is a ruined Roman amphitheatre situated in the Roman settlement of Italica, present-day Santiponce, in Andalusia, Spain.
The Baths of the Rotonda are one of the many Roman public baths in the city of Catania, Sicily. Built between the 1st and 2nd century CE, they are not far from the Roman theatre and the odeon. In the Byzantine era, the Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda with its characteristic dome was built on the ruins of the Roman baths. Its walls are still covered in fine medieval and baroque frescoes.
Rare View into Roman History
Carsulae is one of those places that takes you really off the beaten track. Very few visitors come to this ancient wonder that is nestled in the hills of south western Umbria. A great place to stop,stroll and see what life was like on the Via Flaminia over 2000 years ago!
Around 20 minutes' drive from our hotel (Castello di Sismano, near Montecastrilli) this well-organised and presented site is well worth a visit - it has an impressive arch, forum, theatres, a long stretch of preserved road (the Via Flaminia) and is served by a small museum with lots of helpful literature. If you're not particularly mobile it's a half-kilometre walk from the car park (with steps) but the site itself has good and safe paths. There's a friendly cafe on site as well.
This site is off a small quiet rural road. The walk to the site gives sublime views of the countryside. The information centr is excellent and has a small coffee shop. It's easy to get about the site and imagine the place bustling with life. Mercifully you can enjoy the experience with our hoards of tourists.
If you are in the area this is definitely worth a visit!
Carsulae goes back to 220 B.C.
The Ancient Via Flaminia runs right through this original Roman town..
Check out the waterfall in this area as well, it's amazing.
Carsulae is great. The ruins of theater, amphitheater, forum, gate, Via Flaminia etc. are evocative reminders of Roman life.
There is a small exhibition of archeological finds in the visitor center. The signs throughout the site are mostly illegible, so take a simple printed map from the visitor center for free they're available in various languages.
It was very difficult to find because there are hardly any signs due to Italian local politics (the man at the ticket office said), but it is well worth a little detour. Expect to walk some 800 meters from the car park, with stairs and a tunnel leading under the main road. The visitor center sells cold drinks and some snacks.
When you think of archaeology and Italy, one of the first things to come to mind is Pompeii. Carsulae is smaller than Pompeii, and nowhere nearly as documented as Pompeii. But Carsulae has something unique. Where Pompeii can be overwhelming, Carsulae is small enough that you can imagine what this place was once like. The Via Flaminia runs right through it. You can see the tracks worn into the stone by the Roman standard carts. Marble floors in what are likely market stalls that were once trod on by Romans are still there to see, touch and feel. The necropolis is located right where it is supposed to be--just outside the main gate.
I think that Carsulae is rather underrated as an archaeological site. It is not in an area that gets great tourist traffic, and it isn't as developed and researched (or dug up) like Pompeii or Herculanum. But it is still very much worth the trip to see the grounds and the museum. There is at least one active excavation area, and with more funding hopefully more will be excavated. Stand on a hill there, let your imagination go, and you can start to see the layout of the city and how people gathered, socialized and lived their lives.
Of note, if you go in the summer, bring water, sunblock, a hat and some good walking shoes. The place is beautiful.
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.