The ancient settlement of Falerii Novi belonged first to the Falisci Italic people, then the Romans. The city was known as Falerii Veteres, located 50 kilometers north of Rome. It was part of the Etruria zone with trading ties to the Etruscans, when the Romans overtook it, demonstrating their military might and destroyed the Falisci, but 5,000 people died in the siege. They went about rebuilding it into a Roman city, with two kilometers of protective walls and 50 towers. Of the six original city gates, two remain: the Porta di Giove and the Porta Bove. Incredibly, much of the protective wall is intact, along with many of the torrette (short towers).
The archeology site encompasses the remains of the city, with interesting excavations showing the homes, the theater, the forum, and outside the walls, an amphitheater. There are ruins of the ancient necropolis, as well. The city was crossed by the Via Amerina and Via Cimina. Included in the park is a musem where the statues, carvings and ceramics are kept, found during the excavations.
Also of interest is the Church of Santa Maria di Falleri, a 12th century structure still intact, with the portal sculpted by Lorenzo and Jacopol Cosmati, noted Roman marble workers, who also contributed to the cathedral in nearby Civita Castellana. The church was part of a monastic complex, restored and reopened (open on weekends). A peculiarity of this church is the colomba di luce, or dove of light. On the summer solstice day, the rays of light pass through a window at just the right angle and projects a dove that rises on the wall as the sun moves. It attracts folks who show up at daybreak to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Falerii Novi? Ask them here!
Address in Civita Castellana:
Via Faleri Novi.
Ph. (+39) 076 156 9001.