PRIVERNUM or ARCHAEO LAB
Bordering the National Park of Abruzzi, this area is probably one of the most authentic and non-touristy you can still find in Central Italy on the way south from Rome to Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast.
This day trip is a rare opportunity to be part of a *real* excavation in a minor, but significant Roman town. The program is designed for visitors of all ages who want to “dig” but have limited time. The excavation takes place in ancient Privernum, a city described by Livy as a flourishing Volscian site. It was destroyed by the Romans in the late 4th century BC. The town recovered as a Roman colony from the 2nd century BC. The proximity to the important Appian Way made Privernum a key trading centre, as it has shown by the rich monuments brought to light. Parallel roads traced blocks and planned districts. The town included temples, squares, luxurious mansions, a spa and a theatre.
This unique experience will afford you the opportunity to learn how archaeologists work and provide you with a better understanding of other Roman excavations. Moreover you will be contributing to the work in progress, in a site where “surprises” are still around the corner!
Transportation to Priverno is by local train (approx 1 hr). When you arrive, a driver will transfer you to the excavation site. Following a brief orientation about the history of Privernum, you’ll learn how the site is excavated, the tools that you will be using, where you will be digging and what you might discover. You will work alongside an experienced archaeologist for the remainder of the morning. Then, you will document what you have found and take part in washing, sorting, measuring, and cataloguing what you have found!
Complete your day trip:
We suggest a stop at the medieval town of Sermoneta with the castle of the family Caetani, a Renaissance loggia, the cathedral of S. Maria Assunta and its romantic stone-paved alleys.
If the excavation is not enough for you, the day can go on with a visit to the the museum of Privernum, where you’ll admire the best finds of the site collected in the last years. The museum is housed in an elegant residence, Palazzo Valeriani, overlooking the main square of the current town. More than a thousand objects among statues, inscriptions, pottery and mosaics: probably the most amazing piece is a 5 mt long threshold depicting an Egyptian landscape in tiny tiles!
Fossanova Abbey, a Cistercian monastery and one of the finest and rare examples of early Gothic art in Central Italy dating back to 1135. En route to the Second Council of Lyon in 1274, the Dominican scholastic Thomas Aquinas died in the abbey on 7 March. Beautiful decorations are the huge rose window on the façade and the carved capitals of the hight nave, not to forget to peaceful cloister nearby.