42.40055513.306668Koordinaten: 42 ° 24 '2 " N, 13 ° 18' 22" E

Amiternum was an ancient city of the Sabines in Italy.


Amiternum was in the Abruzzo region at the foot of Gran Sasso, at the site of the present hamlet of San Vittorino the city of L' Aquila. The greater part of the town spread beneath a hill with a citadel on the river Aternus, after whom the city was named. The distance to Rome was evidenced by a milestone 83 Roman miles ( about 125 km). Amiternum was an important crossing point of the Via Caecilia, the Via Claudia Nova and two branches of the Via Salaria.


Amiternum, specifically the nearby Testruna, was regarded as the origin of the people of the Sabines. 293 BC, the Romans conquered the city from the Samnites and managed them as praefectura. Since the 2nd century BC Amiternum was completely Romanized, and belonged to the tribe Quirina. 86 BC there the historian Gaius Crispus Sallust was born. According to a later local legend Pontius Pilate came also from Amiternum.

The city still flourished in the imperial period and became the seat of a bishop. Their population is estimated at 20,000 to 25,000. A major earthquake 346 AD ushered in the decline. Until the Middle Ages to the year 1250 the city was abandoned; the inhabitants moved into the 8 km away L' Aquila, which also took over the bishopric. The diocese continues to exist as a titular Amiternum the Roman Catholic Church.


In the valley below the San Vitorino numerous excavations have been made since the late 19th century. North of the village, on the right of the SS 80, are the remains of a theater with maybe augusteischem masonry. It had a diameter of 80 meters and could accommodate about 2000 spectators. While the seats of the cavea were partially restored, the foundations of the scaena only still visible. Outside the ancient city on the other side of the Aterno is the amphitheater, with a diameter of 68 m. It is a brick building from the first century AD, which offered 6,000 spectators. There are also remains of a bath complex and perhaps a Tiberian aqueduct.

The most famous inscription found in the city is a calendar that the fasti Amiterni.

After a long period of archaeological research Amiternums now intensive investigations take place again. Since 2006, a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation project at the University of Bern has (since 2008 University of Cologne) with the urban studies of the city by means of remote sensing, geophysical prospection and targeted stratigraphic excavations. Were newly established, inter alia, the forum with basilica, a large Domus of the local upper class and several shrine complexes. 2007 and 2008 undertook the regional office of monuments of the province of Abruzzo own excavations at the theater and at a temple east of the amphitheater.

S. Michele

In the village San Vittorino the Romanesque church of San Michele stands with frescoes from the 13th century. Of particular interest are the catacombs. From the right aisle there is access via a staircase to the graves of more than 80 alleged martyrs, datable to a period prior to the 4th century. A tomb is marked as a resting place of Saint Victorinus (San Vitorino ), is said to have suffered one of the first bishops of Amiternum under Emperor Nerva martyrdom. The system consists of quasi- natural caves and shafts, partly also from pillared arches. There has been verschiedentliche interventions and these grave system and their dead has over the centuries developed a rich legends.