Location: Largo Sant'Anna

This is the heart of the ancient Roman city of Interamnia (or Interamna) Praetut(t)iorum, of the post-ancient city of Castrum Aprutiunse and of the medieval Teramum. This archaeological site was brought to light in the ‘80s during the last century and is enhanced by a large steel and glass structure inaugurated at the end of the 1990s. The visitor will be able to understand, through a synoptic view, the complex events of urban history, from the origins until the Norman fire in the 12th century (1156-57), when, after the destruction of the ancient Santa Maria Aprutiensis Cathedral, Bishop Guido II began the great reconstruction west of the city. The construction of the new Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Berardo, with the transfer of the remains of the Patron Saint of the city, miraculously saved from the fire, marks the end of the oldest urban history of the so-called Terra Vetus.


The site is characterised by four stratified building phases which are still perfectly legible: the oldest being of the domus of the late Republican-First Empire Age on the southern part of the lower levels, at a depth of about 2 meters from the current square; the late Antiquity square tower, called “Torre bruciata” because probably burnt following the Norman fire; the one with the ruins of the Santa Maria Aprutiensis Cathedral, about 80 centimeters from the Roman levels, set on fire and leveled in the 12th century; the phase of the transformation of the surviving ruins of the cathedral in the private chapel of the family de' Pompetti dedicated to Saint Anna.


The Roman domus is structured around a large peristyle with three large rooms that close the west side. The garden is characterized by a tub, or small pool, built in opus incertum (irregular work used in ancient Roman construction technique) with flooring in opus spicatum (type of masonry construction meaning “spiked work” used in Roman times) and hydraulic plaster (opus signinum), placed on the axis of symmetry, but localized towards the access to the rooms on the west side of the four-sided portico. The peristyle has brick columns with Pompeian red painted plaster on stone bases. Except for the entrance on the side of the rooms, the intercolumns in the garden are closed by low walls built during a renovation phase. The three rooms feature painted plaster and cement flooring made of slivers of limestone with a geometric black and white pattern. It was made with the insertion of large tiles and framed by a band of black tiles. The room on the left, the only one with access to the south and not to the four-sided porch, has walls painted with Third Style Pompeian decorative motifs: geometric distribution of panels or paintings framed in red, black, ochre and white, with elegant depictions of plants with branches. In the central room, which is the largest, the pictorial (or geometric) square pattern is made with light shades and separated vertically by hardly recognizable stylized candelabras. A quick glance may linger on the stone thresholds of the two rooms that open onto the porch, with the recesses of the frame of the double-leaved doors with hinges and ribs. The rich private domus of the late Republican era was restructured and transformed with purposes probably related to public or corporative needs during the First Empire.


The "burnt" (bruciata) tower is difficult to classify chronologically in the complex, both due to the absence of direct connections and due to atypical typological-constructive characteristics. The only certainty is that it can be excluded that it is from Roman times or the 13th century as the typology might suggest. It was probably erected at the end of the Roman world to defend the Castrum Aprutiense from the disastrous Gothic invasions. Large stone blocks from the demolition of the large public buildings in Interamnia, with a technique reminiscent of the opus quadratum, were reused in this structure.
The imposing structure with a square but irregular floor plan, which is about 8.0 x 7.5 x 10.0 meters high, is not directly related to any of the construction phases directly preceding or following it. The north-east side, oriented on the pre-existing domus, is the only clue that takes us back to a continuity with antiquity. It was incorporated into the Late-Antiquity and medieval Christian religious complex almost certainly with the dual function of sighting and bell tower.

Traduzione: classe BLL del Liceo linguistico statale Giannina Milli

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