Passions & Places

The Romans

The Romans 

The history of the Romans in the Marches started in 295 BC when, near Sassoferrato, the proud Piceni, made alliance with them and with the Lucani in attempt to resist the attack of the troops of the Umbri, the Gauls, the Etruscans and the Sanniti. The victory in the Battle of Sentinum (which left numerous traces of the urban reality) started the long dominion of the Romans on this territory and helped the unification of Central Italy.

The unification successively went into effect in the Battle of the Metauro. On its banks, in 207 BC, the Romans defeated Hasdrubal and his Carthaginians. The romanisation of the people in the Marches was thus initiated. Numerous towns were transformed in important colonies (such as Pisaurum – Pesaro, Potentia – near Porto Recanati, Auxium – Osimo and Firmum Picenum - Fermo). A series of roads connected them to Rome. (The road paved with cobblestones in Forum Sempronii - Fossombrone is very suggestive.) The most distinguished are Via Flaminia (with the Galleria del Furlo, requested in 76 AC by the Emperor Vespasiano, interesting opera of heavy engineering) and Via Salaria.

The Augustus epoch left numerous ruins in the Marches. Bridges, arches, temples, theatres and amphitheatres emerge in various zones of the region. The Arch of Augustus in ancient Fanum Fortunae (Fano) distinguishes among the ruins of the town walls, and the local Civic Museum preserves rich collection of furnishings and everyday life objects.

In Fermo, guided visits take to purifying pools (with thirty subterranean rooms), still partly used as tanks of potable water. The ancient Roman magazines house a rich Antiquarium.

Military and commercial importance of Ancona (but also its prime rule in the Illyrian wars and in traffic with the Eastern ports) is best discovered in a visit to the large Amphitheatre (built in the 1st century), the Arch of Traiano (probably deed of Apollodoro di Damasco from 115) and the inestimable, enlarged Greek port facing the richest markets. Numerous finds and famous bronzes from Cartoceto are exposed in the National Museum of Archaeology.

The Roman dominion in Ascoli Piceno (that boldly defended its Piceni origin) is symbolised with Porta Gemina, Ponte Solestà, the rests of Theatre and other interesting constructions.

Ancient Helvia Recina (the inhabitants of which successively founded Recanati and Macerata) is still situated in the countryside of Villa Potenza, among evident traces of a Theatre and of a paved street leading towards Septempeda (San Severino Marche), Prolaqueum (Pioraco) and Nuceria (Nocera Umbra). Falerio Picenus, on Piane di Falerone, exposes stones of another ancient Theatre and of a significant spa known as Bagno della Regina (Queen's Bath).

The ruins of the Roman town Urbs Salvia (built in the 1st century BC near Urbisaglia) display Amphitheatre, Theatre, frescoes found in the excavations of a Temple and the ancient walls that, in 410, did not succeed in protecting triumphal landmarks of this great centre from Barbarian hordes of Alaric.

The mighty Roman Empire could not survive under the devastating plunders and terrifying incursions of the Ostrogoths and the Lombards (around 490); but, the ruins of numerous towns still today narrate their history and centuries of their splendours so dramatically crushed.

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