The Mediterranean Exchange of Archaeological Tourism organises a programme of free guided tours at the following sites for speakers, journalists and visitors:
ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF PAESTUM HIKE
Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th – meeting point at the Museum at 09.45 and at 11.45
ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF VELIA HIKE
To participate, you must fill out the entry form and hand it over to the Guided Tours Secretariat the day before the tour of your choice.
National Archaeological Museum of Paestum
The Museum collects unparalleled relics coming from the city and the territory of Poseidonia-Paestum: prehistoric funerary equipments, recovered architectonic and sculpture relics found during the diggings. Some artifacts of great interest are the seated fictile statue of Zeus from the sixth century BC, a large feminine bust, lacking her head, from the end of the sixth century BC, the bronze hydria amphoras from the sixth century BC. The painted slabs coming from some of the 120 tombs so far recovered are beautiful, one of the most famous is the painted tomb of the Diver from 480 BC. Sculptures, marmoreal registrations, cult objects, fragments and amphoras are the testimony of the Roman Age in Paestum.
Archaeological Park of Paestum
Poseidonia was a Greek colony founded at the end of the seventh century BC by the Sybarites. Conquered at the end of the fifth century BC by the Lucanians, in the third century BC it became a Latin colony with the name of Paestum. Protected by five kilometers of pentagonal walls, the imposing Doric temples rise, dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries BC: the Basilica of Hera, the Temple of Neptune or Poseidon and the Temple of Ceres. The Basilica is the most ancient of the temples of Paestum: it rises solemnly, with the gilded columns of the arch, orienting to east. The most classic and perfect example of a Doric temple of the Greek world is surely the temple of Neptune. The temple of Ceres, dedicated to Athena, rises at the Northern extremity of the sacred zone. The diggings cover an immense area of the city with other huge buildings like the baths, the porch of the Forum, the amphitheatre.
Archaeological Park of Velia
Velia, the ancient Elea, was founded around 540 BC by the Focei settlers who came from Asia to battle Cyrus’s army. Parmenides and Zeno were born here and with them the Eleatic school, reference in the philosophical culture of the antiquity. The city structure is clear in its relics, and it is entered by the “Rosa Door”, the only surving example of Greek architecture with round arch. The wall of the sacred fencing is particularly valuable, with its charming stoà or porch, paved in bricks from the Hellenistic Ages.
Other suggested sites:
– Antiquarium of Palinuro
– Antiquaira of Roccagloriosa
– Archaeological Area of Fratte – Salerno
– Arechi Castle – Salerno
– Cathedral of Salerno
– Church of Saint Peter at Court – Salerno
– Church of Saint Mary of Lama – Salerno
– Early Christian Baptistery of Nocera Superiore
– Hellenistic-Roman Theatre – Sarno (on request, please contact Sarno Municipality)
– Medieval Castle of Avellino
– National Archaeological Museum of Eboli and the Media Valle del Sele
– Provincial Archaeological Museum – Salerno
– Provincial Art Gallery of Salerno
– Roman Abellinum of Atripalda
– Roman Villa in Minori
– Villa Guariglia and Provincial Museum of Ceramics in Vietri
Antiquarium of Palinuro
The site of Palinuro (Centola) is of particular interest in the intersection of cultures that have been setting and whose traces are found in the Antiquarium, located on the steep slope in Ficocella that offers visitors a picturesque view of the gulf. The building houses archaeological finds (ceramics and obsidian furnishings of about six thousand years ago) found during the excavations, undertaken in the area of the town, which since 1948 have unearthed a necropolis of the sixth century BC. The public can see exhibits of imported Attic pottery with black-figures, and Ionic ones decorated with stripes; the vessels also reflected a kind of local pottery decorated with geometric patterns whose elements recall the ones from the Island of Cyprus and the ceramics from Percenzia in Northern Apulia dating from the late seventh century BC. The setting also includes the materials of various funerary items from the necropolis, of the Enotrio type, in the San Paolo district.
Antiquaria of Roccagloriosa
At Roccagloriosa in two Antiquaria, exhibits that are proof the the Lucan settlement (fourth century BC) found in the necropolis are exposed, with “emerging” tombs. In the first Antiquarium (former Church of St. Mary of the Martyrs), among others, the precious discoveries of the tomb n. 9 (female burial) are exposed, containing a rich array of jewelry, arrived intact, which testifies the contacts with the production of Taranto and links with ancient Italian traditions.
The second Antiquarium offers a photographic exhibition on the site of the Necropolis and the graves, especially n. 19 and 24, whose exhibits are also on display. The protagonists of the exhibition are the vases, among which three large pieces (more than one meter in height) with red figures stand out, representing a uniqueness as there have been no other finds with similar measurements outside Apulia. Among them there is the loutrophoros, whose crater is 112 cm high with spiral horns decorated with gargoyle heads.
Archaeological Area of Fratte – Salerno
It is an important pre-Roman settlement, with remains dating back the sixth century BC, when Etruscans, Greeks and natives co-existed. The archaeological area was defined an “acropolis” both for the topographical position of the findings and because the structures found revealed a religious and civil center at the top of the settlement.
Impressive remains of the Samnite necropolis at the end of the fourth century BC are also present.
Arechis Castle – Salerno
The “Castle” that sits on Bonadies hill, already occupied in the Roman age and then a Byzantine fortress, was equipped with a Turris Maior, that made it “impregnable by nature and art, not being in Italy a better equipped rock than it” (Paul Deacon, in Historia Langobardorum). With Arechis II, who expanded the territory of the city to the East and West surrounding it with new walls, as showed by the illustrations accompanying the poem by Pietro da Eboli, Liber ad honorem Augusti, at the end of the twelfth century the castle became a symbol of the centrality of his principality. Gisulf II, the last Lombard prince of Salerno, minted the famous coin with the legend “Affluent Salernu”, iconographic mirror of the city, dominated by the Turris, before it became, in 1077, a Norman fortress, ruled by Robert Guiscard. It later became an important defensive element of the Aragonese chessboard, and then progressively lose its importance with the changing techniques of warfare. It was completely abandoned in the nineteenth century. The restoration of the castle and the Bastille, which started in 1982, led to the functional recovery of the architectural components and the redevelopment of the entire area, aiming, first, to refund the readability of the largest architectural qualities of the fortified structure, subject to continual expansion and adjustments dictated by the succession of governments in the historical period of its defensive function and by the emergence of new military techniques. Today, through structures of link, service advanced security thematic itineraries are possible. the excellences are the Media Gallery, the Museum, the virtual display system of the Turris Maior and the Bastille, which is home to the contemporary sculptures by Lorenzo Spirito (the “new guards”), attached to the castle through a didactic-naturalistic.
Cathedral of Salerno
Dedicated to S. Matthew the Evangelist, whose relics are still preserved in the crypt, the Cathedral of Salerno has characteristics similar to those of the Abbey of Desiderio in Montecassino: plan of a basilica with three longitudinal aisles, a transept and a quadrangle.
The original structure, built under the reign of Robert Guiscard, was renovated in 1688. Preceded by a large atrium surrounded by a portico supported by twenty-eight columns, the imposing building has a large twelfth century bell tower on the southern side. The access to the structure is through a Byzantine bronze door set in a marble portal at the base of which there is a pair of lions.
Church of Saint Peter at Court – Salerno
The church of Saint Peter at Court, known as the Palatine Chapel founded by prince Arechis II in about 787, today is the complex of greater importance of the historical centre of Salerno. Archaeological surveys currently in course has brought to light the Roman area. The area comprises, beyond the spaces immediately below, once occupied by shops, also the area pertaining to the confraternity of S. Anne. In the XIII century the church was used as a meeting centre for the Parliament: public ceremonies were often celebrated there, among which the bestowal of the diplomas of Schola Medica Salernitana.
Church of Saint Mary of Lama – Salerno
The first document mentioning the church of Saint Mary of Lama dates back to 1055: “Ecclesia sancte Marie ubi lama dicitur… constructa intus hanc salernitanam civitatem”, but it probably has more ancient origins. Santa Maria de Lamas, located in the heart of the historic city, contains the only evidence of the Lombard period of Salerno.
Inside, two columns are decorated with almost life-sized frescoes: one of them represents Christ with the cross, the other one a female figure, perhaps Mary Magdalene.
Early Christian Baptistery of Saint Mary Major
The Baptistery, called ” the Rotunda” for its circular shape, was part of a larger complex.
The first written attestation dates back to a diploma of the year 841 AD. The dome is set on 15 arches, supported by as much pairs of smooth columns, it covers the central octagonal baptismal font, second in Italy only to the one of Saint John in the Lateran. The marble of the architectural decoration, bases, shafts of columns, capitals and molded frames are bare and with evident function of reuse.
Hellenistic-Roman Theatre – Sarno
Built in the second century BC and scenically set against the southern wall, it was enlarged from 76 to 96 m during the Augustan or Tiberian age .
It is one of the greatest scenic buildings of ancient Campania. Both the orchestra and the frons scaenae were adorned with precious marble and statues.
It underwent further restoration after the earthquake of 62 AD.
Medieval Castle of Avellino
The Castle of Avellino stands on an ancient tuff cliff surrounded by two streams, the Rio Cupo to the North and the Rigatore to the South.
The archaeological investigations identified the original fortified core of the complex, meant to defend the medieval city situated on the Terra hill, and in use at least until 1700s, a time when the last owner, the Caracciolo princes, left the ancient manor, preferring a residence more suited to their needs.
The archaeological excavation identified several phases of occupation of the complex: from the oldest traces of funerary structures from Roman times, consisting of parts of mausoleums with their bare elements (including a limestone lion), to a primitive system dating back to the sixth-seventh century AD; the next period, between High and late Middle Ages, during which new structures, substantially constituted by a rectangular fortress, are implanted, is well documented. Around the thirteenth century, the monument was affected by significant renovations and expansions, among which the construction of a church deserves particular mention.
More accommodations occurred around the fifteenth century, followed by a series of destructive episodes, including a fire whose traces were found on the floor of a rectangular room.
The castle lost its residential function in the first decade of the ‘700 and the complex, during ‘800, is used as a quarry and for agricultural purposes, according to a feature found in other similar contexts.
National Archaeological Museum of Eboli and the Media Valle del Sele
The Museum is housed in the Convent of St. Francis, founded in the thirteenth century and extensively remodeled in the sixteenth. Before the Second World War it was used as the town hall, the district court and the local high school. The bombing of the war caused its partial destruction and abandonment. It has been retorned to public use after a recent restoration and the entire west wing of the complex is made available to the Municipal Administration by the Archaeological Superintendence of Salerno and Avellino, that oversaw the setting of the Archaeological Museum.
Currently, the Museum collects artifacts, mostly tombs, from the old town of Eboli, that, thanks to its location in the coastal plain at the mouth of major routes such as the Tusciano river valley and the path of Ofanto-Sele river, represents in the ancient times a boundary between territories participating in different cultures.
The exhibition is chronologically organized tended to present the main stages of more than millenial life of the settlement: Prehistory, Iron Age, Orientalising period, the sixth and fifth centuries, and, for now, it ends with the rich documentation of the fourth century BC. By its nature in the near future it is bound to also host the testimonies of the territories around the middle course of Sele river.
But it should be noted that this particular museum, created to tell the story of a not culturally homogenous former district, will feed and grow with the results of field research, which is why the exhibition, that on the upper floors is still under construction, will become dialectically linked to the archaeological investigation and the subsequent reconstruction of the ancient landscape. In the lobby there is the base of a statue with an inscription (183 AD) known as Eburina Tombstone, which had been reused in the bell tower of the church of Saint Maty in Intra. This epigraphic text makes it clear that Eburum enjoyed the status of Municipium.
National Archaeological Museum of Pontecagnano “Etruscans on the border”
The construction of the new National Archaeological Museum of Pontecagnano – founded by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture with the contribution and participation in the Campania Region and the local municipal government – is the final stage of an ambitious project led by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage the provinces of Salerno and Avellino in close collaboration with the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ and with the University of Salerno, and configures itself within the exceptional importance of the archaeological heritage as it gathers the most significant proofs of the Etruscan expansion in Southern Italy, returned from one of the most important site of ancient Campania and Southern Italy.
The new and larger structure shows in a strictly scientific, but at the same time charming and attractive way, through the development of various issues, the results of the intense and constant research begun in 1964 in the municipality of Pontecagnano following the discovery, one of the most significant of the last fifty years, of a large Etruscan settlement, which had urban characteristics as early as from the Archaic Age.
The importance and the size of the site are documented by more than 8000 very rich funerary equipments, that attest the attendance from the First Iron Age (end of X – early ninth century BC) to Roman times, when the Etruscan-Italic settlement overlaps the Picentia colony (263 BC). The main core of the museum’s display is made up of princely outfits of the Orientalising period (late eighth-seventh century BC), at the peak of the flowering of the center.
Provincial Archaeological Museum – Salerno
It contains a rich documentation of the entire province of Salerno, from Prehistory to late antiquity. In a prominent position there is the equipment of the princely tomb of Roscigno, from the end of the fifth and beginning of the fourth century BC. There are also Samnite, Lucanian and from Campania ceramics from the Hellenistic age, Etruscan pottery, bronze ornaments including the beautiful head of Apollo found in the waters of the Gulf of Salerno. It is a precious late Hellenistic original, dated in the first half of the first century BC, attributed to the artist Pasiteles, born in Magna Graecia.
Provincial Art Gallery of Salerno
Palazzo Pinto, aristocratic residence in the heart of the historic center, houses the Provincial Art Gallery. On display there are paintings from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. In the Renaissance section there are fine works by Andrea Salerno and the Master of the Coronation of Eboli.
Of great interest are the seventeenth-century paintings by Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, Andrea de Lyon, Charles Rose. The paintings by Francesco Solimena and his Academy are from the eighteenth century. There are many paintings by Salerno’s and Costaioli painters starting from the second half of the twentieth century. A section is dedicated to foreign artists, who created the works exhibited here.
Roman Abellinum of Atripalda
The ancient Roman colony of Abellinum, located on the Civita hill of today’s Municipality of Atripalda (AV), along the left bank of Sabato river, preserves considerable monumental evidence, attributable to its original layout.
The urban fabric, which covers about 25 hectares, is marked by orthogonal road axes that delimit the neighborhoods and it is enclosed by a mighty 2 km long reticulated wall, dating back to the late Republican age. A rich stately home, a Pompeian-type domus with atrium and peristyle, with painted plaster and floor mosaics, occupies an entire city block. The excavations currently in progress have made it possible to highlight the area of the vestibule of the domus: in particular, the entrance has emerged, flanked on each side by two large tabernae (shops), distinguished by two stone thresholds, overlooking a section of the grande decumanus (East-West road).
The structures pertaining to a bath, of particular monumentality and consistency, are proof of its character of public buildings, already made evident by a series of important findings, including that of a sacrificial altar in marble.
The sepulchral areas, along the banks of the Sabato river, and the remains of the monumental amphitheater are located outside the urban layout.
Roman Villa in Minori
This accommodation reflects the type of the villa maritima on two floors with large reception rooms, then split into smaller rooms (on the West wing) and thermal environments (on the East wing), which are still recognizable tepidarium, calidarium and praefurnium.
Few elements on the upper floor, built later, are still not clearly legible, including the stairway on the West side.
The lower floor is rather well preserved. Its buildings lie on the hill behind, playing also a static function, as terracing, for the higher ones.
In some areas the decoration in third style and the stucco vaults are still kept: they are arranged around a large triclinium with nymphaeum (about 70 square meters), with a ceiling decorated with stucco ceilings and patterned ground and the remains of frescoes in the IV style, with beautiful mosaic floors.
Built in the early first century AD, the villa has undergone several restorations and alterations during its life.
Villa Guariglia and Provincial Museum of Ceramics in Vietri
It houses ceramics mostly from Vietri, but also from other sites in Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Liguria. The oldest examples of Vietri ceramics date back to the end of the fifteenth century. This production is part of a tradition of clay processing that has involved Salerno and its immediate surroundings since the pre-Roman era. The oldest examples of votive tiles date back to the seventeenth century. There are many rich testimonies of the 40s and 50s, the period known as “German”, with pieces made in Vietri by authors from Northern Europe.