Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Motya

Motya was an ancient and powerful Phoenician city on San Pantaleo Island.  Many of the city"s impressive ancient monuments have been excavated and can be admired today. The city, founded at the end of the 8th century BC, soon became one of the most important Phoenician colonies; thanks to its proximity to Africa it was one of the first obligatory transit routes towards Spain, Sardinia and Central Italy.The Phoenici ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Marsala, Italy

Nuraghe Santu Antine

Nuraghe Santu Antine, also known as 'Sa domo de su re' ('The house of the king') is an ancient megalithic edifice built by the Nuragic Civilization in Torralba, one of the largest in Sardinia. It is located in the centre of the Cabu Abbas plain. The main structure was built around the 19-18th century BC, and the other parts of the nuraghe date back to the 17th–15th century BC. The main tower original ...
Founded: 1800-1400 BCE | Location: Torralba, Italy

Domus Romana

In Peschiera del Garda is possibile to find the rests of a roman village, of the end of the 1st century BC. Scholars think that this area is the “roman victus” of the “Arilica”, that is the boat association which managed the shipyard traffic of the South Lake Garda. The main excavations were between 1974 and 1981, by the regional board of the ministry of cultural heritage and environmental conserva ...
Founded: 1st century BC | Location: Peschiera del Garda, Italy

Crypta Neapolitana

The Crypta Neapolitana is an ancient Roman tunnel near Naples. It was built in 37 BC, and is over 700 metres long. The tunnel passes beneath the Posillipo hill and connects Naples with the so-called Phlegrean Fields and the town of Pozzuoli along the road known as the via Domiziana. The eastern Piedigrotta entrance is now enclosed within an archaeological park, and the site of the villa of Vedius Pollio, an ...
Founded: 37 BCE | Location: Napoli, Italy

Virgil's tomb

Virgil"s tomb is a Roman burial vault in Naples, said to be the tomb of the poet Virgil (70-19 BCE). It is located at the entrance to the old Roman tunnel known as the grotta vecchia or cripta napoletana in the Piedigrotta district of the city, between Mergellina and Fuorigrotta. It is a small structure, with a small dome of rocks located at the top of the park.
Founded: 19 BCE | Location: Naples, Italy

Villa Jovis

Villa Jovis is a Roman palace on Capri, southern Italy, built by emperor Tiberius and completed in AD 27. Tiberius mainly ruled from there until his death in AD 37. Villa Jovis is the largest of the twelve Tiberian villas on Capri mentioned by Tacitus. The entire complex, spanning several terraces and a difference in elevation of about 40 m, covers some 7,000 m² (1.7 acres). While the remaining eight levels of w ...
Founded: 27 AD | Location: Capri, Italy

Akrai

Akrai was a Greek colony founded in Sicily by the Syracusans in 663 BC. It was among the first colonies of Syracuse founded by Corinthian colonists arriving in Sicilian territory. Constructed on the peak of a hill, Akrai was difficult to attack and at the time of its construction an ideal point for watching the surrounding territory. By the treaty concluded by the Romans with Hieron II, king of Syracuse (270 - 215 BC), A ...
Founded: 663 BCE | Location: Palazzolo Acreide, Italy

Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter

The Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter are ancient catacombs situated near the church of Santi Marcellino e Pietro ad Duas Lauros. Their name refers to the Christian martyrs Marcellinus and Peter who, according to tradition, were buried here, near the body of St. Tiburtius. In 2006, over a thousand skeletons were discovered in these catacombs; the skeletons were stacked one on top of each other and still bore the togas th ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Rome, Italy

Tarquinia Etruscan Necropolis

Tarquinia is known chiefly for its outstanding and unique ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoli or cemeteries which it overlies. Tarquinia has been awarded as UNESCO World Heritage status with near Cerveteri. The ancient burial grounds (necropoli), dating from the Iron Age (9th century BC, or Villanovan period) to Roman times, were on the adjacent promontories including that of today's Tarquinia. It was one ...
Founded: 800 BC | Location: Tarquinia, Italy

Aquileia Roman Ruins

Today, Aquileia is a town smaller than the colony first founded by Rome. Over the centuries, sieges, earthquakes, floods, and pillaging of the ancient buildings for materials means that no edifices of the Roman period remain above ground. The site of Aquileia, believed to be the largest Roman city yet to be excavated, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Excavations, however, have revealed some of the layout ...
Founded: 181 BC | Location: Aquileia, Italy

Catacombs of San Gennaro

The Catacombs of San Gennaro are underground paleo-Christian burial and worship sites in Naples, Italy, carved out of tuff, a porous stone. They are situated in the northern part of the city, on the slope leading up to Capodimonte, consisting of two levels, San Gennaro Superiore, and San Gennaro Inferiore. Originally, there were three separate cemeteries, dedicated, to Saint Gaudiosus (San Gaudioso), Saint Seve ...
Founded: 3rd-4th century AD | Location: Naples, Italy

Nuraghe Palmavera

The nuraghe Palmavera is classified as a complex nuraghe, that consists of several towers joined together. The nuraghe and the surrounding village were built in various phase during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The main tower dates back to the first phase (15th-14th century BC) and retains the central chamber covered with the tholos and built with stones in limestone. The tower is archaic, with the entrance free of s ...
Founded: 1400-1300 BCE | Location: Alghero, Italy

Macellum of Pozzuoli

The Macellum of Pozzuoli was the market building of the Roman colony of Puteoli, now the city of Pozzuoli. The city of Dicearchia, founded by Greek refugees escaping dictatorship on Samos, was integrated into the Roman Empire as the city of Puteoli in 194 BC. The macellum was built between the late first and early second century AD, and restored during the third century AD under the Severan dynasty. The buildi ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Pozzuoli, Italy

Desenzano Roman Villa

The Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda, with rich mosaics, is one of the residential buildings of the best preserved late Roman age of Northern Italy. A group of rooms with heating systems to cavity is from the first half of the 1st century AD, which probably belongs to the General system of the complex. In the first half of the 4th century, the mansion underwent a complete and organic reconstruction led to the creation o ...
Founded: 0-300 AD | Location: Desenzano del Garda, Italy

Hannibal's Bridge

Hannibal's Bridge (Ponte Annibale) is apparently one of the oldest structures in Rapallo. This bridge was possibly used by Carthaginian commander Hannibal during his campaign against Rome in the second Punic War, where he possibly unloaded supplies on the Tigullia coast (region from Portofino to Anzo di Framura). The bridge could also be connected to the Battle of Trebbia (218 BC). The structure's name first appears in a ...
Founded: 3rd century BCE | Location: Rapallo, Italy

Arch of Augustus

The Arch of Augustus was erected in 25 BC on the occasion of the Roman victory over the Salassi and was the work of Aulus Terentius Varro Murena. Constructed from conglomerate, the arch has a single vault, with a height to the keystone of 11.4 metres. Its span is a barrel vault, constituting an extension in width of a round arch. In the monument, various styles can be recognised: The ten engaged columns which deco ...
Founded: 25 BC | Location: Aosta, Italy

Greek Walls

Walking along the Falcomatà waterfront, at Piazza Camagna, you will come across Reggio"s largest stretch of Hellenistic walls, enclosed by wrought-iron gate. Although they are defined as 'Greek' walls, they are in reality the product of the city wall circuit that over time has been restored countless times, especially after the violent earthquake of 1783. Built from burned bricks, of which almost no trace ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Reggio Calabria, Italy

Cumae

Cumae was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC, Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl. It spread its influence throughout the area over the 7th and 6th centuries BC, gaining sway over Puteoli and Misenum and, thereafter, founding Neapolis (Naples) in 470 BC. The Greek pe ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Bacoli, Italy

Tyndaris

The monumental ruins of ancient Tyndaris are a main attraction in current day Tindari. Tyndaris was strategically situated on its prominent hill overlooking the wide bay of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was one of the latest of all the cities in Sicily that could claim a purely Greek origin, having been founded by the elder Dionysius in 396 or 395 BC. By the 19th century, the site of Tyndaris was wholly deserted, but the name w ...
Founded: 396 BCE | Location: Tindari, Italy

Selinunte

Selinunte was one of the most important of the ancient Greek colonies in Sicily. It was founded, according to the historian Thucydides, by a colony from the Sicilian city of Megara Hyblaea, in the 7th century BCE. At its peak before 409 BC the city may have contained up to 30,000 people, excluding slaves. In 409 BCE Carthaginian Hannibal crushed and plundered Selinunte, saving only women and children. Thus this is the en ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Marinella di Selinunte, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.