The Roman section of Terni's Archaeological Museum
The two major open-air remains of Terni from the Roman era or rather of Interamna, as this city was called at the time, meet at a short distance from each other. In fact, next to the Cathedral stands the Amphitheater of which, although not preserved in all its parts, it is possible to admire the original elliptical shape and the prevailing building technique in opus reticulatum bicromo - and a little further on, below the public gardens “Passeggiata”,is a long stretch of the walls that surrounded the city. These were probably built shortly after the conquest of the Umbrian center of Nahars (first half of the third century BC) while the Amphitheater dates back to the early I century A.D. Of Interamna there are still numerous other “traces” represented above all by epigraphic documents and figurative finds, part of which brought to light by the excavations carried out in some areas of the city. A large repertoire of this heritage is on permanent display in the nine rooms that make up the Roman section of the “Claudia Giontella” Archaeological Museum at the CAOS in Terni. The exhibition set up on a thematic basis, in addition to outlining the historical development of the city - from its re-foundation up to the late ancient period - and to reconstruct its urban layout, highlights many of its organizational, social and cultural aspects, including those concerning religious cults and funerary uses. One of the most important epigraphic documents is the inscription according to which the proto-urban settlement of Terni was founded in 672 B.C. In the room that houses the materials found in the area of public buildings there are, among others, the remains referable to an apsidal building from the excavations of Piazza San Giovanni Decollato located near what was the city Forum, (today's piazza della Repubblica and piazza Solferino). And from the public quarter also comes the male head which probably belonged to the statue of the censor Cato. The collection that relates to worship offers a significant sample of epigraphs and sculptural materials, such as the valuable bas-relief from the end of the 2nd century A.D. which evidences the cult of Mithras, a divinity of oriental origin, which starting from this period begins to spread in the Roman world; in the exhibit the scene of the god killing the bull is represented. At the beginning of the imperial age we ascribe the construction of the mighty lion of almost natural size - probably placed in front of a monumental tomb, according to a settled custom in Romanized Italy, where the sepulchral monuments frequently featured lion sculptures on the sides "to guard" the sepulchre. However the most striking "piece" is certainly the imposing statue of the Telamon that welcomes the visitor at the entrance to the Museum. This gigantic sculpture of the Imperial Roman era (the exact dating is still uncertain) was found by chance in Terni in 1971, in an area not far from the center. The Telamon is a male sculptural figure placed in support of architectural structures such as cornices and loggias. The artefact found in Terni is made of Pentelic marble, a feature that gives it much artistic value.