The ancient city of Norba, stands out the hills of Lazio, with its monumental walls and many remains of its past, that it was shorten than many other roman cities, but full of historical events. Norba was inhabited just for 7 centuries in which it was an unassailable citadel, during some of the most important wars in the republican age of Rome. The proofs of the rich and glorious past of the city are still visible in the architectural structures: there are splendid private domus with gardens, decoration and mosaic, and great public constructions, for example the vast baths.
At first, Norba was a city of the Latin League that fights against Rome in V century B.C., and then became a strategic center for the Romans, when they win. The city was an unassailable citadel because of its position over the hills and the gigantic walls, and it resisted the most important wars that the romans had against other people on the Italian sole. It was in II century B.C. that Norba had a its most important period, and the archaeological remains prove this.
Then the city was involved into the civil war between Marius and Silla, and the inhabitants supported Marius. When Silla won, the city was conquered and destroyed, and many of the citizens killed themselves because they didn’t want to become prisoners. After this fact, the city lost all its fame and importance, but there were still a few inhabitants that resist until II century A.D., when the area was abandoned because of malaria.
Only in the Middle Ages this area became to be populated again, and there was built new towns using part of the roman remains.
The archaeological park of ancient Norba
Not far from the municipality of Norma, in the open countryside, there are many important remains of the ancient city of Norba. First of all the gigantic walls are the symbol of the city, because it was famous for being unassailable. The walls were built with the technique of opus poligonalis, and they were the perimeter of the citadel, with 4 main doors, in strategic points to enter the city. Part of the walls is visible today and includes a 15 meters tall solid tower, and the passage of the Porta Maggiore (one of the main doors).
Inside the walls, the citadel has a very particular structure, result of the shape of the hills on to the city was built: as the matter of facts there are two acropolis. The larger one is set at north east and there are the remains of a temple, dedicated to goddess Diana. You can see the squared based perimeter, a wall that separated the pronaos from the cell, and the basement of the temple.
The smaller acropolis is positioned in the southern part of the city, it is delimited by the walls and there are the basements of two temples, but we don’t know the gods that were worshipped in them.
You can also found, in the southern part of the citadel, another basement of a temple, dedicated to Juno Licina (“that protects the births”), and other typical important elements in roman cities, for example the forum, that has the particularity of being set on terraces, because of the unique position of the city. There is only the perimeter, and no other architectural remains of the Forum, but you can see a wonderful building of the baths, that represent the age of more splendor of Norba.
You can see the perimeter of the great oval basin that alimented the Baths, and the structure of the different spaces: calidarium, frigidarium, apodyterium and laconicum.
Some of the main streets are well preserved in their regular path and cobbled pavement. Those streets leads to the different estates of the city: as the matter of facts, the archaeologists divided in different parts the inhabited area of the city, and they individuated some interesting constructions of private domus.
These domus are named after a particular characteristic of their architectural structure (the domus of the big implvuium- that have a great basin in its garden to collect rainwater-, the domus of the arule, the domus with a colonnade), or because of a peculiar decoration, for example the domus of the dolphins is named after a mosaic on the floor. There is another domus, that is very interesting because of its decoration, that is domus of caduceo, where the floors are well preserved, and so it is visible to see that each room has a different decorations and mosaics.
Imagine Copyright:By Hermi200 - Own work, CC0
Orari di ingresso
From tuesday to sunday: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
It is possible to reserve a private guided tour for groups composed at least by 10 people (full ticket: 5 € each; under 18 and over 65, school groups: 3 €; free entrance for kids under 10 years).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: VIII century B.C.
DECLINE: VII century A.D.
CIVILISATION: Latins, Romans
ADMINISTRATION: Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone, Latina e Rieti
DISCOVERY: XX Century
How to get to Norma
From Rome take SR148 “Pontina” in direction Latina, until the junction with “SS7 Appia”. Go on SS7 until crossroad of “Latina Scalo”, and then follow the road sign to Norma-Bassiano, to the destination, in the municipality of Norma.
It is possible to get by train to the station of Latina Scalo FS, and then continue with a bus Cotral to Norma.