Marca Fermana - Monte Rinaldo
The Archaeological Museum of the Hellenistic Sanctuary of Cuma and the Archaeological Park
Tel.: 0734/777121 - Fax: 0734/777132
THE HEADQUARTERS AND THE COLLECTIONS
In the locality of "Cuma", in the upper Valley of the Aso River, in a wonderful and prestigious environmental and scenic setting, we find the archaeological area of the Hellenistic Roman Sanctuary of Monte Rinaldo, which emerges as an ideal place of knowledge and discovery of ancient realities. The archaeological documentation collected is the result of two major excavations, the first in 1957 and the next during 1958-62, which led to the identification and the partial discovery of the sanctuary of the late Hellenistic period, and of the advanced imperial age structures, probably a rustic villa built over the ruins of the former place of worship which had gone into disuse. Seismic events, landslides and geological dislocations that followed over time, as well as documented and despoliations, has made the task of the archaeologists and scholars even more difficult, to reveal clarity and precision; however, excavations have so far unearthed, architectural elements of a cultural complex consisting of a portico, of a temple and of a rectangular building of uncertain purpose.
The porch of dual-row columns (porticus duplex) oriented east-west is 63.50 m. long and 100 m. wide. It is formed by an end wall in sandstone blocks and by two parallel colonnades of ionic-italic order, the inner ring, with 6.80 m. high columns (of which four standing) and the outer ring, with 4.75 m. high columns (of which seven standing) are of Doric order. At the western end of the porch there are subsequent changes made to obtain an enclosed area on three sides and opening inwards to the east, through a colonnade with three ionic columns that stand between two pilasters. To the south of the porch are the remains of the foundations of the temple, maybe of the type with three-cells with columns on the façade of Tuscan order and dated approximately between II-I century BC. Of particular interest is the certified presence, although no longer visible, of a well, located between the temple and the portico, as it is definitely connected to the origins and the followings of this important sanctuary. With regards to the deities worshipped, there is no reliable data, but the water seems to represent the natural constituent element of this sacred complex linked to the rituals of healing as witnessed by the discovery of votive statues.
The excavation has furthermore brought to the light numerous terracotta architectural elements, which, besides protecting the wooden beams of the architectural structures, also took on a decorative function.
Such finds, of undisputed artistic and historical value, belonging to the Archaeological Area of Cuma are preserved in the Archaeological Museum of the Hellenistic Sanctuary of Cuma, located at the Church of the Crucifix, used as a Museum since 2008. In the Museum you can see fragments of architectural terra-cotta decorations, mostly moulded with hand finishing and polychrome, which are divided into several related elements: to the coverage of lintels (cladding slabs), to the coatings of slopes (sima), to the coatings of the heads of the beams, to the front elements of the last pitched roof tile (prefixed), to the coating of the door frames, and especially of the frontal.
The work of reconstruction and restoration of the frontal groups was even more complicated as a consequence of the fact that the fragments relating to the sculptures of the frontal were mainly recovered from the demolition of the ancient walls for which they had been reused as building material. Of these sculptures an unspecified number of heads, whole and fragmented, both male and female were collected, as were fragments of draperies, of limbs, including legs and limbs and of seats. The strong moving characterization that distinguishes them meant that they were compared to baroque works of Asia Minor with reference to the altar of Pergamo (180 A.C.).
Type: Archaeology Art
Services: Welcome Area, Ticket Office, Guided Tours
June 2012: afternoon openings every Saturday and Sunday at 15:00-18:00
July and August: afternoon openings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 16:00-19:00
September 2012 - afternoon openings every Saturday and Sunday at 15:00-18:00
For a better organisation of the itinerary it is possible to book the guided tour on 0734/777121 by telephoning from Mondays to Fridays between 10:00-13:00.
Normal: 5 € (archaeological and museum)
Only museum or only the archaeological area: 3,00 €
Groups over 15 people 3,00€ (archaeological area and museum)
Over 65s and students: admission free