Rione Terra in Poz­zuoli

An an­cient dis­trict saved from ruin and re­stored to the pub­lic. A trip back in time just a stone’s throw from Naples

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Sit­u­ated in the vol­canic coastal area known as the Ph­le­grean Fields, sur­rounded on three sides by the sea, the Rione Terra was the first in­hab­ited area in Poz­zuoli. Founded on a small acrop­o­lis to con­trol the ar­rival of en­emy troops and the of­fload­ing of goods, the dis­trict is lit­er­ally over­run with bits and pieces of past civ­i­liza­tions, from the first years of Greek and Ro­man col­o­niza­tion to the present time. How­ever, it was un­der the Ro­mans that it achieved its great­est splen­dour: prior to the found­ing of Os­tia, Poz­zuoli was Rome’s largest port. With the de­cline of the Ro­man Em­pire, it saw a suc­ces­sion of dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions. De­spite be­ing a work­ing class area, un­til the 1960s, Rione Terra was one of the city’s most vi­brant cen­tres. On 2 March 1970, the strong­hold was evac­u­ated fol­low­ing one of the most se­vere events of brady­seism in the his­tory of Putèoli and aban­doned un­til the early 1990s when the au­thor­i­ties fi­nally de­cided to re­store what had for­merly been the beat­ing heart of a city boast­ing thou­sands of years of his­tory. To­day, be­neath Rione Terra, there lies a vir­tu­ally un­touched Ro­man town. Ar­chae­ol­o­gists have ex­ca­vated and re­stored a four thou­sand square me­tre area of the an­cient Ro­man acrop­o­lis and its en­tire un­der­ground ur­ban fab­ric. You can now see the two main ar­ter­ies of the acrop­o­lis flanked by millers’ shops, an­cient tav­erns and the houses of fish­er­men. The ex­ca­va­tions have not only re­stored pre­cious Greek and African mar­bles to the pub­lic, but also count­less ce­ram­ics and ar­chi­tec­tural rem­nants. En­ter­ing the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal area be­neath Rione

Terra is like tak­ing a trip back in times. Fol­low­ing years of ex­ca­va­tions (which are still un­der way), vis­it­ing the an­cient strong­hold in­volves dis­cov­er­ing even the mi­nut­est de­tails of its sto­ried past. A deeply mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence! >> www.ri­ >> [email protected]­ >> Largo Sedile di Porto, Poz­zuoli, Naples. T: 848800288 081526607

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