No traces remain of the oldest walls – which various sources describe as having been built from brick – thus limiting our understanding of where they originally stood. Numerous edifices can be seen inside the town, including the temple converted into a church. The remains of structures partially incorporated in houses trace the outline of the Roman theater.
The baths, built in the 2nd century AD with floors tiled in white-and-black mosaic, are the most important ancient monument. The theme of the mosaic is typical of those found in baths, depicting tritons and sea animals.
Baths with Mosaic Floor
Via di Porta Guelfa – 06031 Bevagna
Tel. and Fax: 0742-360031
For visits to the Baths, ask at the Bevagna Civic Museum.
The baths, which were public, were composed of several rooms, among which the calidarium and the tepidarium have been identified.
The main room is rectangular, with one of the longer sides having a semicircular niche flanked by two rectangular niches. The walls almost certainly were originally paneled with marble.
A brick-lined channel covered in the “cappuccina” manner runs under the floor, from which other drainage channels branch off, necessary in an area such as Bevagna that is rich in water-bearing veins. The floor is tiled with a mosaic of large white and black tesserae, framed by a double black band, while the floral decoration in the niches is outlined by a strip of the same color.
The theme of the mosaic is typical of bath decorations and draws on the ornamental repertoire of marine mythology: tritons and sea horses arranged symmetrically along the shorter sides, and octopi, dolphins and lobsters in the center area. The figures are in black on a white background, with anatomical details shown in white. Stylistically it is related to other marine-type mosaics found at baths in places such as Ostia and Capua, also dating from the 2nd century AD, during the rule of Hadrian.
The Roman theater stood near the Forum, at the slope of the rise upon which the Church of San Francesco is now located. The shape of the monument can be reconstructed not only from the considerable sections still visible, but also from the entire area of town between the Flaminian Way (today Corso Matteotti) and Via S. Francesco; it is interesting in fact to note how the houses overlooking it are oriented according to the plan of the Roman edifice.
The surviving parts of the monument include the imposing remains of two semicircular ambulatories, with vaults for supporting the cavea, in large part visible in the cellars of private houses. The theater probably dates from the 2nd century AD, although a previous structure could have been built in the 1st cent. AD.
Not far from the theater and the baths is the only temple in the ancient town, now converted into the Church of the Madonna della Neve. The temple is very well preserved at the rear; it was a pseudo-peripteral tetrastyle temple, of which only the cella on a high podium remains, while the columned pronaos and the steps at the front have been lost. At present the temple measures 12.25 meters long by 10.77 meters wide.
The wall of the cella is built in opus mixtum faced with rows of sandstone blocks alternating with layers of brick. On the outside, the cella is decorated with four pilasters at the rear and six half-columns on the sides. Some of the wall stuccoing still remains.
The temple can be dated to the 2nd century AD, in following with the stage of building renovation that probably took place in the town during the time of Hadrian, the same period as that of the marine-theme mosaic in the baths mentioned above, located in the archeological area described up to this point.