Discovering Tadinum and its Archaeological Area

The history of the ancient town of Tadinum begins in the 2nd century B.C. in the Republican period of Rome. The area was inhabited from very remote times (with finds dating back to the 13th century B.C.) by the Tarsinater people, one of the primitive Umbrian populations mentioned in the Iguvine Tablets. With the construction of the Via Flaminia, the ancient settlement in the hills was abandoned and the Tarsinater settled in the plains, in a bend of the Rasina stream, near the route of the new road. The choice was unfortunate in the long run, as the town was destroyed by the Visigoths in the early 5th century A.D. in their descent towards Rome along this very consular road.

The area, however, continued to be inhabited. In Longobard times, it is mentioned as “Wald Tagina” (from “wald”, which means “wood” in German), then as “Taino” in the medieval Gregorian cadastre, up to today’s Gualdo Tadino.

Thanks to several excavation campaigns carried out by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Umbria in cooperation with the University of Perugia, the Roman town was unearthed and can once again be visited in a vast area covering about 5000 square metres that contains evidence of seven centuries of Umbrian-Roman civilisation.

The Archaeological Area of Tadinum is located in the hamlet of Sant’Antonio di Rasina in Gualdo Tadino and consists of four evocative building complexes that are typical of Roman civilisation: the republican buildings, the baths, the forum pecuarium and a large domus.

The republican buildings

Several structures overlook a large terraced square, probably the forum of the ancient Roman town, where public assemblies were held. Behind this is the sacred area, a vast porticoed space overlooking the consular road.

The baths

As in many other Roman towns, there was a large public bath complex, facing the Via Flaminia. In the centre was a large room identified as the frigidarium, where the cold-water pool was located. To the west of this was the calidarium, which housed the hot-water pool. To the north and south is a semi-circular nymphaeum and another mosaic-paved pool. There is also a space identified as a gymnasium with a central pool, later transformed into small service rooms, including a latrine. A little further south is the tepidarium, used for bathing in lukewarm water.

The forum pecuarium

The forum pecuarium is a vast artificial flat area enclosed by a series of structures along the consular road. The oldest building is a small temple dedicated to Hercules. The complex probably corresponds with the commercial forum of the town and certainly with the cattle market, given the dedication to Hercules that was common in the forum boarium.

The domus

The last complex is a large private domus, consisting of an older and a more recent part. The latter, dating back to the imperial period, includes a floor heating system and a private spa, indicative of the owner’s considerable wealth. The baths are paved with fascinating red and white mosaics depicting different scenes: on the first we can see Neptune on a chariot pulled by sea horses and surrounded by figures of fish and sea monsters; on a second, smaller one, Venus looks in the mirror, helped by a cupid.

How to get there:

From Rome: take the A1 to Orte and exit in the direction of Terni. From here, take the SS3 'Flaminia' to Gualdo Tadino and follow the signs for the archaeological area.

From Florence: take the A1 to Valdichiana and exit towards Perugia. From here, take the SS318 towards Ancona and exit at Casacastalda towards Gualdo Tadino.

From Ancona: take the SS76 to the Gualdo Tadino exit. Continue along the Via Flaminia nord to the archaeological area.

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