Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Piscina Mirabilis

The Piscina Mirabilis was a freshwater cistern on the Bacoli cliff at the western end of the Gulf of Naples. One of the largest freshwater cisterns built by the ancient Romans, it was situated there in order to provide the Roman western imperial fleet at Portus Julius with drinking water. The cistern was dug entirely out of the tuff cliff face and was 15 metres high, 72 metres long, and 25 metres wide. It was ...
Founded: 27 BCE - 14 AD | Location: Bacoli, Italy

Roman Gymnasium

The monumental complex known as Gymnasium, probably built in the second half of the 1st century AD, consists of various constructions. Surrounded by the remains of a quadriportico are the ruins of the temple preceded by an altar, and a theatre. There was also, from Greek times, the sacellum with the remains of Timoleon.
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Netum

Netum was a considerable ancient town in the south of Sicily. Its current site is at the località of Noto Antica, in the modern comune of Noto. As a treaty was concluded in 263 BCE between the Romans and King Hieron II of Syracuse, Netum was noticed as one of the cities left in subjection to that monarch. Ptolemy is the last ancient writer that mentions the name; but there is no doubt that it continued to exist thro ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Noto, Italy

Villa Romana del Tellaro

The Villa Romana del Tellaro is a Roman villa dating from the late Roman Empire. The remains of the villa were found in 1971 in a fertile agricultural area, on a low elevation near the Tellaro river. The central building was constructed around a large peristyle. The section of the porch on the north side had a floor which was decorated with mosaics. They show laurel wreathes forming circles and octagons with geometri ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Noto, Italy

Euryalus Fortress

The Euryalus Fortress was the key point in the fortifications of the ancient Greek city of Syracuse. It is located on the highest point of the hill of Epipolae. During the Athenian invasion of Sicily (415-413 BC), the fortress did not yet exist, but the strategic importance of the area was clear; the Athenians initially captured the hill, but their failure to retain it prevented them from effectively besieging the city. ...
Founded: 402-397 BCE | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Greek Acropolis of Gela

Located near the Regional Archaeological Museum, the Acropolis of Gela is one of the most important archaeological sites in Sicily. The area was already occupied in prehistoric times by indigenous settlements dating from between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC. After a period of neglect, this site was occupied again around the 8th century BC by a small settlement prior to the founding of Gela, a proto-colony which had been g ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Gela, Italy

Circus of Maxentius

The Circus of Maxentius is an ancient part of a complex erected by emperor Maxentius on the Via Appia between AD 306 and 312. It is situated between the second and third miles of the Via Appia between the basilica and catacombs of San Sebastiano and the imposing late republican tomb of Caecilia Metella, which dominates the hill that rises immediately to the east of the complex. The Circus itself is the best preserved in ...
Founded: 306-312 | Location: Rome, Italy

Val Camonica Rock Drawings

The stone carvings of Val Camonica (Camonica Valley) constitute the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world. The collection was recognized by Unesco in 1979 and was Italy"s first recognized World Heritage Site. Unesco has formally recognized more than 140,000 figures and symbols, but new discoveries have increased the number of catalogued incisions to between 200,000 and 300,000. The petrog ...
Founded: 7000 BCE | Location: Capo di Ponte, Italy

Castelseprio

Castelseprio or Castel Seprio was the site of a Roman fort in antiquity, and a significant Lombard town in the early Middle Ages, before being destroyed and abandoned in 1287. It is today preserved as an archaeological park. Castelseprio originated as a Roman fort that commanded an important crossroad. During the early Middle Ages, the Lombards occupied the Roman fort, turning it into a fortified citadel or smal ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Castelseprio, Italy

Megara Hyblaea

Megara Hyblaea is an ancient Greek colony in Sicily It was founded about 728 BC by colonists from Megara in Attica. In 628 the city established a colony at Selinus but in 483 was destroyed by the Syracusan leader Gelon. The city had a brief independent existence in the 4th century BC, when it issued coinage, but is heard of mainly as a fortified place. Excavations carried on in 1891 led to the discovery of the nor ...
Founded: 728 BCE | Location: Augusta, Italy

Morgantina

Morgantina is an archaeological site in east central Sicily. It was inhabited in several periods. According to Strabo Morgantina was founded by a pre-Roman Italian group known as the Morgetes of Rhegium. Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote that the Morgetes were led by a king named Morges. The earliest historical date associated with Morgantina is 459 BCE, when Ducetius, leader of the indigenous Sicel population of central S ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Aidone, Italy

Ietas

Ietas was an ancient town in the modern comune of San Giuseppe Jato. Ietas was mentioned by Philistus as a fortress, and it is called by Thucydides a fortress of the Siculians, which was taken by Gylippus on his march from Himera through the interior of the island towards Syracuse. It first appears as an independent city in the time of Pyrrhus, and was attacked by that monarch on account of its strong position and the ad ...
Founded: 6th century BC | Location: San Giuseppe Jato, Italy

Archaeological area of ​​Cava d'Ispica

The Archaeological Park of Cava d"Ispica is located in the northern part of the valley which is extended among large and impressive gorges for about 14km. The monumental archaeological evidences which are currently visible have been found thanks to the excavations in the rock and they can be ascribed to three periods: the prehistoric period, the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Evidences of the Ancient Bronze Age ...
Founded: 2200 BCE | Location: Modica, Italy

Diana Archaeological Park

The Archaeological Park of Lipari is located at the Diana district. In the park there are the remains of walls for a length of about 50 m, a tower of the 4th century BCE and some Roman fortifications built by Sextus Pompey. Behind the Greek walls there are buildings of the Imperial-Roman period (2nd century AD). Within the walls there is a street with some home facades of the Imperial-Roman period, mainly located under t ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Lipari, Italy

Heraclea Minoa

Heraclea Minoa was an ancient Greek city situated near the mouth of the river Halycus (modern Platani). Excavations have revealed several parts of the city which are now open to the public. Archaeological finds from the necropolis show the city was founded in the mid-6th century BC. The first written mention of the city is of a small town and a colony of the Greek settlement of Selinus. The city was only briefly under th ...
Founded: 6th century BCE | Location: Cattolica Eraclea, Italy

Vigna Cassia Catacombs

The Vigna Cassia catacombs located next to thel Parco Archeologico Neapolis, owe their name to the family that owned the vineyard (at the time of discovery), which was located above the catacombs themselves. They were found in 1852 during excavations by the Commission of Antiquities and Fine Arts, which at the discovery of steps carved into the rock that led to about 15 meters below street level, decided to deepen the re ...
Founded: 3rd century AD | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Scurati Caves

The Scurati Caves are an ancient settlement and a speleological geological site located in the municipality of Custonaci. The site includes a total of nine caves. The largest cave is the Mangiapane cave, which is about 70 meters high, 13 wide and 50 deep. Numerous ancient findings have been found in the site including rock paintings. Guido Dalla Rosa first explored the area in 1870, surfacing ancient clues of a human pre ...
Founded: 18,000 BCE | Location: Custonaci, Italy

Temple of Victory

The Greek Temple of Victory (Greek Nikē) was located in the ancient city of Himera, today in the archaeological area of Termini Imerese. The temple dates to the fifth century BC and has been identified with the temple built by the Carthaginians at the command of the tyrant Gelon of Syracuse, who commanded the Greek coalition which defeated them at the Battle of Himera in 480 BC. Probably dedicated to Athena, the build ...
Founded: 5th century BC | Location: Termini Imerese, Italy

Pozzo Sacro Milis

Pozzo Sacro Milis is a Nuragic age sacred well with an underground chamber. It dates from the 1500 BCE.
Founded: 1500 BCE | Location: Golfo Aranci, Italy

Halaesa

Halaesa was an ancient city of Sicily, situated near the north coast of the island. The city was of Siculian origin; in 403 BC the tyrant Archonides of Herbita, having concluded peace with Dionysius I of Syracuse, gave the northern part of his territory to the Sicilians as well as to mercenaries and others who had helped him during the war. He named it Halaesa, to which the epithet Archonidea was frequently added for the ...
Founded: 403 BCE | Location: Tusa, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.