Corfinium was a city founded by the Peligni exactly in the middle of the peninsula. We could say that it is the place were Italy was born, because the name “Italica” and then “Italy” were used to name this city during the Social War in I century B.C., when the Italics populations chose it as the capital of the league against Rome.
The history of Corfinium
Corfinium is positioned in Valle Peligna, and the name of this area is also related to the name of its first inhabitants the Peligni, that have occupied it since IX century B.C.
Corfinium expanded itself during the following centuries and in V century B.C. it has become fairly important economically and culturally, and had interactions with the nearest populations Eques, Samintes and Romans, that extended their influence on this area in III century B.C. However Peligni maintained their independence and preserved Corfinium as their capital.
At the beginning of I century B.C. there was a conflict between Romans and Italics population because of roman citizenship. The city of Corfinium was strongly independent, but Rome changed many times its political status in a short time, giving and taking away from Corfinium the roman citizenship. For this reason Corfinium promoted an alliance among Italic populations against Rome, and became the capital city of this league, and changed its name in “Italica”.
In this phase, the city had its own administrative structure inspired to the roman one, and produced its own currency, in competition with Rome. On the coins there was engraved “Italia”.
At the end of the Social war in 90 B.C. the city and all the Italics became roman citizenship, and after this the city preserved a second name, because it is known in the Romans sources both as “Corfinium” and “Italia”. The city became part of the administrative system of Rome and took advantage in its trades by the passage of via Tiburtina Valeria.
The center remained stable during the Empire, and in the end was damaged during the Gothic War in V century A.D. Then the roman city of Corfinium was abandoned, but then in the same area was built a medieval center. In XIX century the excavations started from this medieval town and discovered under it the roman remains.
The archaeological park “Nicola Colella” of Corfinio
The archaeological park is named after Nicola Colella who studied for a long time the site of Corfinium, and it is divided in three zones: the area of Piano San Giacomo, the one with two temples, and the one of the sanctuary of Sant’Ippolito.
The first one is the imperial city, that was densely inhabited, and of which it is possible to observe the structure: the streets with gravel pavements, and one of these was covered buy a portico, of which now are preserved the basis of the columns, and the perimeters of different buildings, shops, baths, and private houses . In particular there are the remains of a domus with polychrome mosaic decorations.
In the area of the two temples, the biggest one is called Italic Temple (I century B.C.) it was build with opus incertus technique and the structure is divided in three rooms, the main cell with the floor decorated with a black and white mosaic that is preserved still today, and two lateral rooms. The other temple is smaller, with a square plan and divided in two parts. The walls are decorated with opus sectile style. In this area there was also a necropolis with tombs excavated in gravel that can be dated around IV century BC.
The area of the sanctuary of Sant’Ippolito was named in this way in the middle ages and it was considered a holy place and people went there because of a spring of water, known for its therapeutic proprieties. The place also has a series of remains of buildings datable between IV and I century B.C. and it is possible to recognize that also in the ancient age this was a place of worship. There are remains of ritual pools and an altar for sacrifices. There is an original combination of sacred symbols left in the same place during time: the ancient and pagan votive statues and the medieval and Christian ones.
The remains found in the archaeological area are preserved in the civic archaeological museum Antonio Di Nino, named after one of the archaeologist that studied Corfinium.
Imagine Copyright: visit-corfinio.it
The archaeological park and the museum open on request. For information and reservation call 3381118944.
Full ticket: 5 €
Reduced ticket: 3 €
2 € per person, minimum 5 people
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: IX century B.C.
DECLINE: IV century A.D.
CIVILISATION: Peligni, Romans
ADMINISTRATION: Comune di Corfinio, Associazione cuore dei confini
DISCOVERY: XIX century
How to get to Corfinio
By car: To get to Corfinio by car, follow strada dei parchi A24/A25 Roma-Teramo, depending on the direction of origin, in toward the inside, until the exit Pratola Peligna- Sulmona. Then proceed for around 3 km on strada provinciale Corfiniese until your destination, Corfinio.