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AURINIA (Saturnia) Tuscany, Italy.

A center in the province of Grosseto on a limestone plateau on the left bank of the Albegna, near its confluence with the Stellata. After the fall of Caletra it apparently became the principal city of the Ager Caletranus, a territory that extended along the Albegna valley among the territories of Sovana, Heba, and Roselle. Sources that cite it are: Pliny (HN 3.8), Dionysios of Halikarnassos (Arch. 1,20), Livy (Hist. 39.55); Ptolemy (Geogr. 3.1.43), Festus (s.v. “praefectura”). It is also recorded as a station on the Via Clodia (Peutinger Table and Anon. Ravenna).

Excavations made at the end of the last century attest to the continuity of life in this inland Etruscan center from the Villanovan to the Roman periods, with an interruption from the 5th to the 3d-2d c. B.C., as is the case in most Etruscan centers.

In 280 B.C. Saturnia passed under Roman domination as a praefectura with a military praefectus sent from Rome, and in 183 B.C. it was declared a Roman colony by the triumvirate of Q. Fabius Labeo, C. Afranius Stellius, and T. Sempronius Graccus. As a Roman colony it was ascribed to the tribus Sabatina and is recorded as saturniana colonia by Ptolemy and by inscriptions from the 2d c. of the Empire (CIL VI, 2404a; x, 4832).

Little remains of the Etruscan city save a few sections of the encircling wall, the longest and best-preserved being on the S near the Porta Romana. From the Roman city remain sections of the city walls, which must have had four gates aligned with the cardo and the decumanus, corresponding to the ancient roads that led from the valleys of the Albegna and the Stellata. Also preserved are numerous remains of public and private buildings constructed in opus reticulatum. Among these are the remains of a castelluin aquarium in the locality called Le Murella, and of a public building with engaged columns in travertine. Vestiges of the Roman age include a large bath building in the locality called Bagno di Saturnia, a building at Pratogrande whose ruins are under those of a mediaeval building called the Castellaccio, and stretches of road paved with limestone blocks.

Various necropoleis surround the city. In the necropolis at Sede di Carlo, NE of the city, are cinerary urns mixed with contemporary inhumation burials in pit tombs. The latter, from the late Villanovan age, are more numerous, though they include rather meager fittings. At Pancotta and Pratogrande there are tumulus graves with inhuination burials. A unique type of tomb occurs at both Campo delle Caldane and Pian di Palma. These are small chambered tombs constructed of rough slabs of travertine positioned upright and covered by horizontal blocks. On the exterior are piled more slabs, and the whole is covered by a tumulus of earth. The material they contain dates to the late 7th-early 6th c. B.C. There are hypogeuin tombs with a single cell and inclined dromos cut into the rock in the necropoleis at Costone degli Sterpeti and of Pian di Palma. Among these is the tomb called the Pellegrina, dating between the 6th and 5th c. B.C. Remains of jars and tiles, presumably from covered tombs, have been found in Porcareccia and Podere S. Bernardino. Much of the material found in excavations at the turn of the century has been lost, and the small part remaining is preserved in the Museo Archeologico in Florence. In Saturnia there is a notable private collection, the Collezione Ciacci.


R. Bianci Bandinelli, Carta Archeologica id., Mon. Ant. Lincei 30 (1932) 209ff; A. Minto, Mon. Ant. Lincei 30 (1932) 585ff; EAA 7 (1966) 78-79 (A. Talocchini).


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 55
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