The Samnites23rd Sep 2024
War & Peace in the Ancient Apennines
For three hundred years the hardy peoples of central Italy were Rome’s bitterest enemies. Rome fought three wars against the tenacious mountaineers who had a habit of humiliating Roman generals. The Samnite Wars were fundamental for establishing Rome’s control over the Italian peninsula, as well as developing Roman warfare. As an indication of this, the Via Appia was created because of the Samnite Wars, in order to facilitate troop movements. In later centuries, the homeland of the Samnites was vital for feeding the great cities of north and south. Set amongst spectacular mountains, ancient cities, castles and abbeys this tour reaches to the heart of Italy and considers early Italians who were so important for establishing and maintain the might of Rome.
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What to Expect
- Visit the theatre and sanctuary at Pietrabbondante, the Samnite religious and political centre in the mountains of Molise
- Explore the ancient site of Saepinum with an impressive theatre which was developed to pasture flocks sent to Rome, something still done to this day
- Admire the massive abbey at San Vincenzo al Volturno established by Charlemagne
- Examine the stunning UNESCO listed Carolingian Oratory of San Pellegrino with its priceless frescoes.
Day by Day Itinerary
Rome - Venafro
We meet in Rome and travel to the ancient site of Venafro on the River Volturno famous for its olive groves. Created as a Samnite sanctuary, Venafro was re-founded as an Augustan colony at the end of the civil wars to guard the road into the mountains. Here, in the centre of the town, we explore the remains of its amphitheatre, which once held 15,000 spectators but at was later re-used as stables and storage for agriculture equipment.