Norcia is situated at the edge of a very fertile plain (the Plain of Santa Scolastica) surrounded by mountains and crossed by rivers. Archeological data show that the area was inhabited in prehistoric times. A vast necropolis found at the end of the last century provides evidence of the continuity of settlements from the Iron Age to Roman times. The burial objects found include fine pottery from the Hellenistic chamber tombs.
A large number of votive bronzes and part of the structures were found near the area where the sanctuary, built in the 5th century BC, once stood.
The creation of the Roman municipium transformed the organization of the town and the surrounding rural territory; vast areas were assigned to new colonists and the Plain of Santa Scolastica was parceled. Chamber tombs, dug into the ground, were no longer used and were substituted by monumental tombs. City walls, streets and new buildings gave an unmistakable Roman guise to the town.
Recently, through aerial photography, it has been possible to locate and identify the main public buildings, the theater and the amphitheater.
The Roman Cryptoporticus
This edifice, which probably stood on the forum of the ancient city, is composed of two parts: an upper part (portico) above ground and a lower part (cryptoporticus) entirely below ground, formerly joined by a stairs. Built in opus incertum and covered with a barrel vault, it is illuminated by small “air vent” windows centered between the intercolumns of the portico. The portico has a single nave with Doric columns made of brick. The floor is in very thick opus signinum. The trabeation was in wood decorated with terracotta, and the roof is double sloped. The excavation made it possible to date the structure to the latter half of the 1st century BC.
The fortunate logistical situation made it possible to use part of the building adjacent to the portico as an antiquarium and for displaying the huts and the burial objects from the tombs found during the excavations in the Campo Boario area. The showcases and panels illustrate in detail both the geological situation and the archeological and historical situation of pre-Roman and Roman Nursia (Norcia).