Sassoferrato - Marche Region - Italy
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Sentinum Archaeological Park

Sassoferrato, a timeless journey in history

History

The city of Sentinum that we know nowadays dates back to the roman era; it was built on a highland of alluvial formation on the confluence of Sentino river with the Marena torrent, near the road Flaminia.  For what concerns the type of city Sentinum was, we have information especially from the numerous epigraphs discovered: the city was a municipality attributed to the Lamonia tribe and it was included in the sixth Augustan region, Umbria. The stories related to Sentinum, handed down by the old authors, are focused on two main battles. In the countryside around this area, in 295 BC the so called “Battle of the Nations” took place, during which the romans defeated the alliance between Gauls, Samnium, Etruscan and Umbrian peoples. The second historic event happened much later. During the Bellum Perusinum, in 41-40 BC , Octavian had Sentinum destroyed because the city was on Antony’s side. Traces of fire, related to the second half of the first century BC found in the ruins in 1947 seemed to verify the destruction and the following reconstruction of the city in Augustan era.

EXCAVATIONS

The first one to be interested in local antiquity and to discover the site was Ciriaco d’Ancona (1391-1452), who transcribed some epigraphs.

Discoveries and recoveries of materials followed until the end of 19th century, after some casual examinations.

Among these findings, the most striking is the mosaic representing the personification of Aion, the “absolute” time that is conceptually opposite to Chronos, the human lifetime: a rare and unique figurative theme.

After various events, this mosaic was removed from the room it decorated, and it was sold. Now it is exhibited in Munich’s glyptotheque.

In 1890 the excavation made for the railway line Fabriano-Urbino (nowadays line Fabriano-Pergola) brought to light something that looked like a city central part.  The railway line, indeed, crossed the whole city from north to south, nearly entirely parallel to the old road network.

The engineer Raniero Mengarelli, who at that time took care of the railway’s works, made drawings of everything that was found.  To him we owe the plant of the city with the survey of the city walls; the two cardines and two decumani excavated at that time and the sections of the structures found along the railway line.

From the 1950s three excavations campaigns began, directed by the Marche region Superintendence of Cultural heritage

POSITION

Sentinum archaeological park is considered one of the most relevant archaeological parks of the Marche region.

Situated just outside Sassoferrato, it consists of two areas: location Santa Lucia and Civita, separated by the provincial road that leads to Fabriano, linked together by a walkway that ends in a large parking lot.

What is visible of the ancient city are the two roads , a cardine and a decumano , remains of an urban public and an extra urban thermal establishment , granite columns , foundation, floors residue and a workshop for melting metal.

Visits can be booked at the Tourist Office, max 24 hours in advance