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Arcaeology - Archaeological areas   


Area archeologica di Bolsena

Area archeologica, part. (Arch. Fot. Provincia di Viterbo)

Area archeologica, part.
(Arch. Fot. Provincia di Viterbo)

The area Volsinii Novi is located in Poggio Moscini in Bolsena, a small suggestive village situated along the shores of the homonymous lake, about 32 km from Viterbo.

After the destruction of Volsinii Veteres (Orvieto) in 264 BC, the inhabitants were transferred by the winners and brought to the north-eastern shore of Bolsena Lake, where a new city with the same name was built, Volsinii Novi.

The walls of the Etruscan city extended for more than four kilometres encompassing some hills. It was built with blocks which have Etruscan letters or symbols. In the first century BC the development of the condition of Municipality, Volsinii was gradually transformed into a Roman city itself, brought to the light from the French excavations (1961-1982).

The forum and basilica, installed on a platform, provide an important example of regular city planning. The forensic building complex, dating back to the years 70-80 AD may be accessed through a sloping street, covered by a vault and goes to a square via a staircase. Of the same period was also the basilica with its interiors divided into a central nave and two lateral ones and surrounded by a colonnade. Organized on two floors, decorated in various order, this basilica opened to the forum with three staircase arcades and its position encloses it in the series of the major basilicas in the province of the Empire. Its function as a room was to accommodate the law-court. It was also important as a place where various trading operations occurred. Needless to say, its monumental appearance was the perfect scenery for the whole Forum. During the fourth century the whole building was transformed into a Christian basilica including some late tombs occupying large areas in the aisles.

Still, under the atrium e the impluvium of one of the surviving Domus (the second one) two tufa carved rooms, dating back to 3rd century are located. They are very interesting for their conformation and characteristics. Moreover in the area of the future peristyle domus some remains of walls as well as structures of stone together with the remains of a fire dating back to the first quarter of the 2nd century BC, were found. This was also the same century during which two fragments of the famous throne with Dioniso were found.

The fire that took place on the 2nd century and the simultaneous destruction it brought to a throne related to Bacco were attributed to a decree issued by the Roman Senate which forbade the rites celebrating Bacchus. The subterranean hall probably served the secret ceremonies of Tias (association of the faithful of Bacchus) because most of the of the throne fragments were found in the nearness of the subterranean hall exit. After its destruction, the area was no longer a cult-place but when the Domus was built, some fragments of the throne were preserved and incorporated into its foundations.

Going on with the visit, visitors meet the remains of the thermal complex Seio Strabone. Mostly covered by the road going to Orvieto, the baths are developed on two levels, with a calidarium consisting of a large rectangular room. Particularly interesting is the em>praefurnium.

For a visit
Open every day, except Monday, from 9:00 to 13:00. Admission is free.

Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche
Piazza Matteotti, 12 - 01023 Bolsena VT
Telefono: +39 0761 799923 - Fax: +39 0761 796056


Testi: C. Chiovelli - Traduzione: L. Adami


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