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Historiae di Tacito III, 60

This rather short but still very intense excerpt taken from the Historiae by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus provides a lively summary of all the features of landscape which, at the present day as in the past, impress the visitor who reaches Carsulae, a Roman city whose foundation probably dates back to the third century B.C., right after the Via Flaminia was built.
It is quite likely that Carsulae owes its birth to the creation of the Via Flaminia, which was an extremely important road in the time of the Romans. Even though it was so probably so, it must be said that, later, the beauty of this resort and the presence of abundant and healthy water springs gave a significant contribution to the development of the city, which was probably meant to be a spa town right from the beginning., as the nearby town of Sangemini is at present day.

The fact that Carsulae was mainly designed to be a holiday resort was particularly stressed by a major urban renovation undertaken at the beginning of the Imperial Age, perhaps as early as the age of Augustus, and finished b the 1st century A.C.

It was in that period that the urban layout of Carsulae was defined, the new forum was built and, above all, several areas dedicated to different specific purposes were created in the city. Among the areas of major interest we find the theatre and the amphitheatre. The baths are to be mentioned as well, together with three monumental cisterns that stress how important water used to be the life of the city, also in economic terms.

 carsulae archaeological site

 

1 The Via Flaminia
Carsulae is on the western branch of the via Flaminia. Its path travelled through the town (north – south axis) and became the main road or the cardo massimo.
The urban route of the road was built using limestone blocks and near the Forum it was intersected (east – west axis) by another main road, the decumano massimo. It led to the area where all the theatrical buildings were located.

2 The Thermal Baths
Located on the southern side of the urban centre of Carsulae, currently there are not visible.
The rooms are of complex characterisation: one room has an apse and contains remains of suspensurae. Much recovered material was found, of which for example many fragments of mosaic floors.

3 The Church of Ss. Cosma and Damiano
The church dates back to the XI century, It was built using a pre-existent building. It was built, as with the example of the portico, using many building materials of the Roman period. The portal is topped with a marble lunette with a decoration. Relief design: a Greek cross in the centre, animals and two human figures with nimbus heads on either side of it. They are most likely identified as the titular saints of the church. Internally, on the far wall, the church hosts fragments of frescos with representations of sacred scenes.

4 The Buildings and the Tabernae of Carsulae
In front of the church and across from the Basilica, a structure with a series od rooms can be seen. Some of these are connected to each other. Doorframes, steps and perimeter walls are the remains of the two buildings areas. It is possible that these were private buildings and date back to before the Imperial Age. The tabernae were used for trading purposes. They are adjacent to the building area in front of the church. Originally they were a series of vaulted rooms and had stone counters for selling retail goods.

5 The Basilica
This building was mainly used for justice tribunals. It belongs to the Forum but it is on the opposite side of the Via Flaminia and dates back to the first Imperial Age. Today, the main hall is divided in three aisles with rows of pillars. Towards the back there is a smaller diagonal room with an apse of the centre.

6 The Forum
The public square, facing the west side of the urban road route of the Via Flaminia, was by means of two rounded-arches. One has been partially reconstructed. The first, further south, is in proximity to the so-called twin temples.
Only the podiums lined with pink stone slabs remain. The access was by a flight of steps portly reconstructed: the lack of ancient sources make it difficult to identify the divine couple.

The second entrance that bordered the northern side of the square, consist of four apsidal rectangular
rooms: the largest one is identified as the Curia (the headquarters of the senate town council], the smaller ones were headquarters for administrative and political activities. Detailed marble decorations con also be seen.

7 The Antiquarian Cistern
There ore four cisterns that have been identified at Carsulae: two are further north, upstream from the
thermal system (one has now been transformed into an Antiquarium). One is to the north of the amphitheatre and the other to the south of the theatre.

8 The Arch of S. Damiano
The arch is to be found at the northern entrance of the town. It was originally a tri-fornix arch (the two lateral minor ones have collapsed). Some restored architectonic decorations have been found on site. The arch, like other architecture of the town, dates dated back to the era of Augustan urban
renovation along the Via Flaminia.

9 The Tombstone Monuments
Three tombstones belonging to the prestigious Carsulae families, ore outside of the town boundaries.
Two ore restored and dating back to between the first century BC and the first century AD.
The first is a drum shaped tomb on a rectangular base. It has a crowning of crenulations and six radial
walls inside The second is a tower shape on a rectangular base. The cylindrical body has skylights and above these there are Doric style decorations. It has a cusp arch covering. The other monument was possibly a type of kiosk. It preserves only a rectangular basement and part of a fence. Not far from the monumental tombs, a leaden sarcophagus was discovered. Inside
the human remains of a young girl.

10/11 The Amphitheatre and the Theatre
Both structures are to be found on the eastern side of the town. The amphitheatre was partly built into a natural cavity in the ground. Only the northern side of it was in part excavated. Brought to light were the two principal access points of the arena which were opened along the largest axis. Also there is the wall of the podium and the ambulatories reaching as far as the cavea. It is suggested that it dates back to the first century AD.
The theatre was entirely reconstructed above the ground and date back to before the amphitheatre.
The scaena preserves the remains of the original front tripartite with semi-circular niches in the centre and two others at sides, While a wall made by niches, divides the pulpitum (stage pulpit) from the orchestra area. The latter being linked to the outside through two paradoi (lateral passes), all of which is lightly sloping In the upper and middle part, the cavea was supported by 15 vaulted rooms and by the covering of the ambulatory on which they face.

carsulae archaeological site

carsulae archaeological site

Carsulae archaeological site
Hotel Michelangelo Palace
Hotel Michelangelo Palace

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