The Agora/Forum

Approximately coinciding with the modern Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, the ancient agora, later forum, occupied the northern sector of the city, close to the intersection between the two ancient main urban thoroughfares, c. corresponding with the modern layout of Corso Umberto and Via del Teatro.

The agora was securely located and its site explored between 1964 and 1980. It continued to be a place of public assembly until the 7th-8th century AD, when a cemetery area was developed on top of it. During the Augustan period, after the foundation of the Roman colony, it was drastically remodelled.

A peristyle building (no longer visible), discovered below the barracks of the Carabinieri, former convent of Santa Maria di Valverde, dates to the 3rd century BC, and remained in use until the Augustan period. The discovery of four bases for honorific statues attests to the building’s public character (Bouleuterion?).

This area of the city presumably maintained at least in part the same political and administrative function even after the conversion of the Greek agora into the Roman forum. This is demonstrated by the find within the Forum Baths of fragments of a Roman calendar datable to 21-20 BC, of part of the Fasti Consulares relating to the years 39-30 BC, and of a contemporary list of local magistrates of the colony; all these inscriptions must have been attached to a wall of the forum.