Sanctuary of Pietrabbondante is of great historical importance. It's the major sacred area still standing indeed, in the land of Samnites, an ancient italic population settled in south-central Italy.
The sacred area
The sacred area rises on a hilltop, at an elevation of some 966 mt above sea level, on a steep slope looking over the valley of the Trigno. Its main function was the religious worship. But, over the earliest ages it had very close links with the army as well, according to the large number of weapons recovered among ruins. It was also intended as a forum where concilia were held, which were meetings called by the Senate on special occasions.
Excavations started from IX century under Bourbons. They uncovered Theater, minor Temple and further buildings between. The oldest part of the archaeological area dates back to the IV century BC. It's a squared zone spotted between the theatre and the major Temple and fitted with two porches with columns, allegedly dating from the same period of the Ionic temple. It was later incorporated in the complex of theater-temple, while maintaining the original size.
The smallest temple was built around the III century BC by Italic temples layout, having a squared base called podium. It had one single cella and a pronaos, allegedly a tetrastyle, and an on-ramp in the middle of the front side. It's surrounded by an ambulatory enclosed by a retaining wall.
Theatre and great Temple (temple B) date both from the late II century BC. The temple was built by Hellenic layout and was influenced by Samnium architecture, too.
It was made an hearthwork enclosed by architectural structures, to built the theatre. The upper part of cavea must have had removable seats and one can get on it by back staircase. On the other hand, lower part has three orders of seats and is divided into six sectors by short stairs leading to the upper part. This theatre could contain up 2500 viewers.
Great temple is a podium with three cellas, surrounded by a columnade. It's in a rectangular yard enclosed by porches, with terrace of altars in front of the entrance. However, the temple hadn't been used very often and the worship ends with the start of struggle between Marius and Sulla.
Not too far from sanctuary, it's been spotted the Socelliis funeral monument dating from the second half of I century BC. This very family became the sanctuary's owner and of all the appliances, too. But the whole sacred area was soon sized and handed over, due to civil war.
Imagine Copyright: molisiamo.it
If you are interested in the precious testimonies of the peoples who inhabited the peninsula before the Romans, you can also consult the other archaeological sites of the Italic peoples mapped on the platform.
From 09/01 to 03/31 (fall-winter scheduling)
from Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am - 5.30 pm
Close on Monday
From 04/01 to 08/31 (spring-summer scheduling)
from Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am-7.30 pm
Ticket price: Full 4€ - Reduced 2€
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: IV century BC
SUNSET: I century BC
MANAGEMENT: Soprintendenza archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio del Molise
REDISCOVERY: XIX century
How to get to Pietrabbondante
Take A4, exit Vasto. Then take SP650 to Isernia. Finally, follow the street signs to Pietrabbondante