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Archaeological Isernia

dente di ippopotamo isernia la pineta
Hippopotamus tooth, prehistoric site of Isernia La Pineta (photo: A. Priston).

Exactly halfway between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian coast lies Isernia,the capital of the homonymous province since 1970. The town and its territory have ancient origins and witness an extraordinary continuity of life that starts at the prehistory. Evidence of one of our oldest ancestors dated to 600,000 years ago have been found in the Isernia La Pineta site, about 2 km outside the historical center.

It is, however, in the current historical center of the town that you will find traces of its historical past. The urban layout of the city is medieval although built on pre-existing Roman structures (it was designated Latin colony in 263 BC) of which sporadic but significant traces remain: the main road axis, Corso Marcelli, which perfectly follows the decumanus; the remains of the imposing polygonal walls; the podium of the Italic temple found in the foundations of the current Cathedral; the large underground cisterns.

Like the Cathedral, even the main churches of the city date back to the Middle Ages. Among these, it is worth visiting the monastic complex of Santa Maria delle Monache, headquarters of the Archaeological Museum which boasts a rich collection of Roman artefacts found in the territory of Isernia.
Starting at least from the seventeenth century, the city is endowed with beautiful buildings, such as Palazzo Jadopi, Palazzo d’Avalos and Palazzo del Seminario.