Ruins of Liternum – Naples, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Ruins of Liternum

A former Roman town that was once the home of Scipio Africanus. 


The Roman province of Campania was once one of the most prosperous regions in Italy, with important cities like Naples, Pompeii, and Cuma. On the shores of the Lake of Patria, near the eastern coast of Campania, the town of Liternum was founded in 194 BC. 

Liternum was initially inhabited by veterans of the Second Punic War such as general Scipio Africanus. A tomb and a statue of Scipio Africanus were later constructed in Liternum. In the following centuries, Liternum became a prosperous fishing town, also famous for glass processing and pottery. This was largely due to its position along the important Via Domitiana road that connected the major towns of the eastern coast of Campania.

The town went through a slow decline beginning in the 3rd century when it was hit by floods, a malaria outbreak, and pillaged by the Vandals. The settlement was eventually abandoned for centuries. Excavations around the area started during the 19th-century and most of the ruins visible today were uncovered in the 1930s.

Some elements of the city that were brought to light were the forum, a temple, part of an amphitheater, the necropolis, and the tomb of Scipio Africanus. The ruins are now part of an archeological park, however, they are still mostly unknown to the public; overshadowed by more famous Roman ruins in the area.

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