The archaeological area of the river port of Seripola, in Orte, an important landing place in ancient Rome
The Roman river port of Seripola is located a few kilometers from Orte, in the province of Viterbo and archaeological excavations have brought to light a place of extraordinary importance for the ancient populations who lived on the Tiber river. Located a few kilometers from the city, this important place has re-emerged thanks to the archaeological excavations following the construction of the Autostrada del Sole in 1962, which brought to light a place of extraordinary importance, which has allowed historians to acquire new knowledge about the populations. who once lived on the river.
The archaeological area today
What we see today in the archaeological area (which can only be visited by reservation and with a guide) is the smallest part of what this place was in ancient Rome. Seriola , in fact, was a commercial port of utmost importance for the city from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century BC.
The port on the Tiber river
Built-in the vicinity of the hill which during the Middle Ages took the name of sub ripola, on the banks of the Tiber river, Seripola extends over an area of about 500 square meters on the left bank of the watercourse. We are in the area of the plain of Lucignano and this was an important hub for commercial traffic between Rome and the interior, this being, at the time, the only way of communication, or at least it was the best one.
The map of the place shows us structures developed around the two main roads of the port of Seripola: one oriented towards the West-East axis and the other, South-North. The point where two axes cross is still today marked by a travertine pavement.
What emerged from the excavations
According to the hypotheses of scholars, this territory, that is the area including the plain of Lucignano and the confluence of the Tiber with the Nera, was certainly the extreme limit that could be navigated by boats of a certain size. This is why the size of the port structure demonstrates the importance of Seripola. What we see today should only be a third of the extent of the site. During the various campaigns of archaeological excavations, the remains of shops, houses, some streets, a well and the sewer network emerged, as well as the thermal baths with its floor heating system and the underground conduit in which the hot water ran. The houses, as well as the shops, are arranged on several floors, sloping down towards the river.
The material found
Among the various artifacts found in the archaeological area of the port of Seripola, the most interesting is certainly the statuette of the goddess Cybele, a conical black stone, which according to the beliefs of the time guaranteed the power of the empire. Also worth mentioning are the bricks with the trademark, vessels, earthenware amphorae and above all a plaque with some names engraved on it. They would be magistrates and this would demonstrate the existence of the civil and commercial life of the port.
The river port of Seripola began to lose importance after the construction of the consular roads, especially the Via Amerina, which allowed the transport of goods in less time. The definitive decline will be given by the construction of the so-called Augustus Bridge over the Tiber in the 2nd century BC of which only a few traces remain today.
How can I visit Seripola
The Roman river port of Seripola in Orte can only be visited with a guide. The reference is this link: https://www.visitaorte.com/orari
As I arrive at the river port of Seripola
From Orte take the road to the Petignano District, Sp 84 and continue until you reach the Locanda della Chiocciola, near which there is a parking lot, then walking into the woods (ask for directions on the spot) in a few minutes. reaches the archaeological area.