Minturnae – The Roman Town

Minturno or Minturnae was originally one of three settlements formed by the Ausoni tribe, the other two were Ausona (now known as Sessa Aurunca) аnd Vescia. The Roman castrum of Minturnae was strategically sited on the right bank of the mouth of the river Liris, close to the sea. This river is now known as the Garigliano. The town became a colony in 296 BC and had became a successful trading port of considerable importance. It was also built along the ancient Appian Way and a bridge, known as Pons Tiretius, traversed the river. The original settlement was surrounded by a square circuit of fortified walls made of large poligonal blocks. By the end of the 3rd century BC  the town had expanded and a new set of fortified walls were built to protect the town, with towers in each of the corners. The town was further developed over the years during the Republican and Augustan eras and the period of Hadrian.

In 88 BC Gaius Marius, an influential Roman general and statesman, was forced to flee from Rome and his rival Sulla. Marius took a ship to  Minturnae and hid himself in the surrounding marshes. However he was finally captured, tried and sentenced to death.

Cicero often referred to Minturnae in his letters and speeches.

Today, at the archaeological site, there are still significant Roman remains to be seen such as a forum and a Capitolium or temple dedicated to Jupiter Juno and Minerva dating from the 2nd century BC. Further remains include an amphitheatre of the late Republican era, temples, porticos, villas, mosaics, a thermal bath complex including a caldarium and a tepidarium and a basilica.

The Roman Theatre of Minturnae

The Roman theatre, which dates from the 1st century, has been restored and during the summer months it comes to life when used to stage open air theatrical performances and concerts.

© Patrizia Esposito
© Austen Shapcott
© Austen Shapcott

Photos of the Archaeological Site

The Roman Appian Way

© Austen Shapcott

The Antiquarium

The Antiquarium museum has a display of interesting archaeological finds discovered at Minturnae.

The Roman Acqueduct

Water was supplied to Minturnae by an impressive acqueduct which was fed by the water source at Capodaqua in Spigno Saturnia.

The Sanctuary of Marica

The Sanctuary of Marica was situated near the mouth of the River Garigliano, in a cave within a sacred wood. A temple was built to honour the nymph goddess, who was known as “the goddess of the water that shines in the light of the sun”. This shrine was built of tufo rock during the 6th century BC and was later rebuilt by the Romans at the end of the 1st century AD (see Wikipedia article)