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NARNIA (Narni) Umbria, Italy.

A site set high above the gorge of the river Nar, the gateway from the Tiber valley into Umbria. The Umbrian town, called Nequinum, was taken in 299 B.C. by the Romans, who put a Latin colony here with the name Narnia. As a key point in the defense of Latium it had military importance throughout the Republic; the Via Flaminia passed through the town and branched here, the longer line running E through Interamna and Spoletium, the other to Carsulae and Mevania, to rejoin at Forum Flaminii. Narnia belonged to the tribus Papiria and was the birthplace of Nerva.

Nothing is known for certain about the topography of the ancient town, now overlain by later habitation, but the mountains here made the engineering of the Via Flaminia arduous. Several cuts and sculptures in the rock belong to this, while over the Nar itself just below the town one of the greatest of all Roman bridges, the Ponte d'Augusto, carried the road at a height of more than 30 m a distance of 160 m. Only the first of four arches is now whole, of concrete faced with blocks of travertine. The second arch, 32 m in span, ranked as one of the largest in Roman bridge building, and the whole work can be compared only to Trajan's bridge at Alcántara in Spain. It is unusual in that it lacks cutwaters. There are also three other Roman bridges near Narnia.


PBSR 19 (1951) 91-100 (M. H. Ballance)I; P. Gazzola, Ponti romani (1963) 2.46, 57-59, 88-89PI; EAA 5 (1963) 352f (U. Ciotti).


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