previous next


A town on the Via Appia that grew up in and around the camp built by Septimius Severus to house the Legio II Parthica (formed in A.D. 193) on the steep outer slope of the crater that encloses Lago d'Albano. The site seems to have been chosen to put the camp near the imperial villa built by Domitian at Castel Gandolfo; the ager albanus, sweeping in an arc from Castrimoenium to Aricia, was probably largely imperial domain by this time.

There are good remains of the fortifications, all in massive blocks of the local tufa, some stretches heavily rusticated, some very lightly if at all. The triple porta praetoria in the SW front has been excavated, and the SE front with an arched gate and a rectangular tower can be followed for nearly its whole length. Near the highest point is a cistern carved in the tufa with a capacity of 10,000 cubic m. It is divided into five aisles by four rows of nine pillars supporting vaulted roofs and is still in use without, it is said, ever having been repaired. Other adjuncts of the camp outside its walls include an aqueduct, an amphitheater, two baths, and a necropolis. A circular nymphaeum in opus mixtum listatum with figured mosaic floors inside the camp may originally have stood in the park of Domitian's villa; it has been converted into the church of S. Maria Rotonda.

In the Villa Comunale of Albano, on a ridge dominating the campagna, are extensive remains of masonry of several periods, going back as far as the Late Republic, commonly identified as ruins of the villa of Pompey, an attractive notion, since it was certainly an exceptionally fine building.

Between Albano and Castel Gandolfo lies the emissary of Lago d'Albano, a tunnel said to have been driven originally in 398-397 B.C. to keep the level of the lake constant (Livy 5.15-19). It is ca. 2 m high, 1 m broad, and 1800 m. long.

Just outside Albano on the way to Aricia is the Sepolcro degli Orazi e Curiazi, a monumental tomb, much restored, with a square base surmounted by a round drum and four elongated cones at the corners. The whole is built of concrete with a tufa facing, and there is no evidence of how it continued above this point or of a burial chamber. It can hardly be pre-Augustan.


G. B. Piranesi, Antichità d'Albano e di Castel Gandolfo (1762)I; G. Lugli, BullComm 45 (1917) 29-78; 46 (1918) 3-68; 47 (1919) 153-205; 48 (1920) 3-69; id., Ausonia 9 (1919) 211-65; 10 (1921) 210-59, pls. 4-7MPI; id., NSc (1946) 60-83; T. Ashby, The Roman Campagna in Classical Times (1927) 191-94; H. W. Benario, “Albano and the Second Parthian Legion,” Archaeology 25 (1972) 256-63.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: