The ancient Roman town of Turris Libisonis, located at the mouth of the Rio Mannu was the precursor to the current Porto Torres. This had been a Roman colony since the 1st century BC and, of all the estates belonging to the Republic and the Empire, it was the only one inhabited by Roman citizens: it proudly held the name of Iulia, linked to the figure of Julius Cesar or of Augustus.

Under the long Roman dominion, the town underwent several urban renewals: building of the road system, three thermal baths, an aqueduct and the creation of a port where trade relationships with Ostia took place. The colony, between the end of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, was second only to Caralis for number of inhabitants, grandeur and maritime traffic. Buildings that will surprise you with their architectural perfection and evocative power are the domus di Orfeo and the Terme di Pallottino thermal baths as well as the central ones, in an area known as Palazzo di Re Barbaro, in which you will find large rooms with baths and elegant mosaics. Between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the building activity was intensified: you can admire the evolution of these activities as well as the remains of marble decorations, bas-reliefs and statues. In the archaeological area, you will find the remains of dwellings grouped into blocks and tabernae (workshops). The buildings are delimited by paved roads and are partly incorporated and visible in the Antiquarium Turritano, a museum located in a building within this area, not far from the thermal baths, where artefacts and relics found during the excavations are kept: pottery, funeral urns, inscriptions and mosaics.

Around the ancient town, there are vast necropolises: one to the west, on a shore of the Rio Mannu rivulet and another to south, below the current town, while to the east, on the seafront, including the hypogaeum of Tanca Borgona, there are the funerary complexes of Scogliolungo and San Gavino a mare and the tombs of Balai. The graves range from the early Imperial age to the early Christian period, while there is an almost completely intact Roman bridge over the river with seven elegant arches, making it an exceptional feat of engineering.

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Porto Torres, Italy
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Details

Founded: 1st century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

More Information

www.sardegnaturismo.it

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ofelia Vieitez (11 months ago)
The mosaiques are amazing. Extremely beautiful. Worth the 4 euros fee. However, I will rate this experience as 'the reluctant guide'. We arrived and had to wait for a few minutes for the guide (go every hour) together with 2 other couples. None of us spoke Italian. The guide only spoke Italian. She was really unwilling to show us the place, really unmotivated. Only good tip she gave us was to download an app with English guide for the site (izi. TRAVEL app). Weird and quite funny actually.
Ilaria Orlandini (2 years ago)
I give three stars not for the beauty of the site itself, which is indisputable, but for the overall management! All sorts of signs are missing, so much so that, walking around with the car, I thought it was closed and I had to call to make sure it could be entered! At this time, due to covid, access is allowed to groups of 5 people, with a guided tour and the antiquarium, where the most deserving finds are exhibited, is closed. The cost of the ticket is quite negligible: € 4 for an hour of visit to a site that for the most part has yet to be excavated, but which already suggests the wonder that will emerge! Today the thermal structures, the cryptoporticus, the paved road and some wonderful domus with floor mosaics of great value can be visited, among which the splendid one with Orpheus. The guided tour, however, was quite disappointing: it is true that we did not have a real guide, but a simple accompanying employee (by his own admission), but at least a minimum of language ownership and the correct use of the verb tenses one if you expect it! I admit that she was still with sympathy and goodwill, but after taking part in other guided tours, for example at the Fordongianus spa, the disappointment was great here, also because neither the history nor the importance of the site is explained! Sin! Porto Torres is an industrial location, tourists usually prefer Stintino and Castelsardo, so aiming at an archaeological site of this beauty and importance, making the most of it, it seems to me a practically obligatory choice! You can do much more and much better!
Federico Lago (3 years ago)
Great visit and very knowledgeable staff. Sometimes guides in English are not available.
Federico Lago (3 years ago)
Great visit and very knowledgeable staff. Sometimes guides in English are not available.
Cavanha Capoeira (3 years ago)
Closed.
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