Same Old Piazza…

June 10, 2009 / Art & Archaeology
Terracina (LT)

While Terracina is now definitely off the beaten track, it was once directly on it, literally. The Via Appia, ancient Rome’s main communication, commerce, and growth artery, to be precise. With Terracina basically an important ancient… truck stop.

So you hear there are some ruins up in the old town. Fine, worth a walk up the hill overlooking the small port. An ancient arch here, a pair of marble Norman lions there, so far standard operating procedure. Mosey into the main square, cathedral – check, café – yep, town hall – there it is… and then the hair on the back your neck begins to stand up on end.


Something is wrong. Rather, it feels wrong because it is… so right. This is no normal piazza, this is The Piazza.

You are in Terrracina’s original Roman forum, unchanged in 2500 years. Newer buildings built on the old ones perhaps, but the square itself, original flagstones and all, exactly as it always has been. The forum of Rome might be grander but it’s, well, in ruins. This one is still good.


And sure enough there it is. The Via Appia, paved with its original stones as well, in fine condition after only two millennia, thank you very much. And the forum right along the side of it…

…like all self-respecting truck stops.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

9 Responses to “Same Old Piazza…”

  1. Doris Belmont(e) Fahlman

    Is this site the same one with the state of the art Theatre? Sure looks familiar but my greatest impression was the absolutely fantastic theater. Very up to date!

  2. jojo

    ..same old, is what I love, after all , life is in the piazza .
    As in the case of ‘truck stops’ there too you can find life , conversation and hearty food. That’s life!

  3. Beautiful photos, GB… I like that they are absent of people. I cover up the couple walking in the last photo with my thumb, and then it’s truly easy to imagine the piazza exactly the same 2000 years ago…

  4. Fascinating! Wish I’d known about this when we lived in Vietri! Too many places and never enough time to visit them all. Sigh.

  5. Pat Ceccarelli
    Pat Ceccarelli

    I liked this so much that decided to visit and was wondering just where it is and lo and behold I just by chance clicked on the name and voila! a MAP!! Honestly, I didn’t know you also, even, funish us lucky readers with a map!! Many thanks! Pat Ceccarelli

  6. Lenore Chicka


    Fantasic!! Just when you think you’ve seen it all, up pops this
    gem. Incredible! Beautiful!

  7. Ben & Sally Coletti

    Just fascinating! Thanks for sharing. Hope to see it when we go there soon. A couple friends from Germany are there now on a tour in Italy. Will forward this and hopefully they could drop by and enjoy the wonder of this gem…

  8. Bob Augelli

    All one can do is marvel at the durability of the Roman roads throughout not only Italy but Europe as well. The Romans truly did build for eternity. Here in New Jersey our roads and, especially, our bridges, are in terrible condition. While I was atteched to the US Sixth Fleet in Naples a half century ago, I used to travel along several of these Roman roads. I’m sure they are still in good condition.


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