The archaeological park of Iuvanum is a hidden place to discover. You do not have the expectation to found a wide historical area, in the middle of the countryside in Abruzzo, and it is impressive to see this place, that looks like a picture, a window to the past, where important remains stick out in the nature.
The area was inhabited since the Bronze Age, and Iuvanum in IV century B.C. was a fortified city build by the southern Carecini, a tribe of Sannites, that took advantage from the position over the hill and the presence of a water source, where they build also a temple. You can still see the walls of the fortification made by Carecini.
After Sannite Wars, the city was involved in the Romans’ sphere of influence, and became a Roman municipium. The city had a transformation because before was a fortified town “oppidum” with a simple planning made by the Sannites, and then there was an urban development, organized by the Romans.
They build a forum, the streets, many monuments and buildings (a theatre, many fountains, and etcetera) that represented the improvement of the living standards brought by the Romans.
The citizens of Iuvanum where to Rome “civites sine suffragio”: this means that they were allies, but they did not have all the rights and advantages that a Roman citizen had, but only a part of those privileges. They had this status until I century B.C., when after Social War, all the Italian allies became Roman citizens.
In IV Century A.D. in Iuvanum there was a decline in population, at first because of an earthquake (in 346 A.D.) and then the crisis and the fall of the Roman empire lead the population to leave this area and choose other centers that were easier to defend.
The archaeological park of Iuvanum
Iuvanum was discovered in recent times, since the ’40 in XX century. The main part of the discovery has been made since the ’80 and the excavations are still proceeding. Now there is a new discover of some remains that maybe were part of the baths.
In the archaeological park can be found some remains that belong to the Sannite age, like the walls, but especially the ones from the Roman municipium.
In the acropolis there is a sacred area with two adjacent temples, that were built by the Sannites, that were used to build temples next to a water source. The construction was made when the city was already a roman municipium, and this is confirmed by some inscriptions, that show that the temples were dedicated to roman divinities: Heracles, Diana, Vittoria and Minerva.
The major temple (temple A) is the most ancient and was built the first years of II century B.C. It had a high podium and a central staircase, the façade had four columns in Doric style, and the walls were in opus quadratus style. You can see the perimeter and part of the podium. The minor temple (temple B) was built also in II century B.C. but some years later, and the remains are less preserved, so that you can see only the podium.
At the foot of the acropolis there is a theatre, and the scene and part of the cavea are preserved.
The center of Iuvanum was the forum, of which endure part of the pavement and the pedestals of the statues that decorated the square. Two of these pedestals preserve the epigraphs that contain the name of the people portrayed by the statue: one was the goddess Minerva and the other one Cornelia Salionina’s, wife of the emperor Gallieno (III century A.D.)
In the forum there was also a basilica, destined to commercial and administrative activities in the city: it can be seen the apsidal perimeter. There were also many closed spaces where the different activities in the forum took place: “space W” hosted a kitchen, “space B” a taberna, and other spaces were present but it is difficult to find out what there was into them.
Last but not least the streets that connected the structures in the city and define the routes used by the people to move from a part of the city to another. In particular Forum Street, Eastern Street and Theatre Street are well preserved, and the cobbled pavimentation, and you can still follow the routes, that are visible in this area. Dionysus’ street is less visible than the other three streets, and lead to an estate where the excavation are still going on.
You can also visit a museum related to the archaeological site, there are others pieces of the ancient civilizations.
Credits imagine: By Ra Boe / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Monday- Sunday: morning 10.00 - 13.00; afternoon 16.00 - 19.00
Tickets Price: Full ticket: € 4.00 - Reduced Ticket: € 2.00: senior visitors (over 65 years), children between 3-13 years, group of tourist (more than 15 members) “Sangro Aventino card” owners
Free entrance: children under 3 years.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: X century B.C.
DECLINE: IX century A.D.
ADMINISTRATION: Soprintendenza archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio con esclusione della città dell’Aquila e dei comuni del cratere
DISCOVERY: XX century A.D.
How to get to Iuvanum
From Chieti take SS81 for m41,5 km, then take SP132 to Montenerodomo.