Archaeology in Cesenatico

The Origin - Ad Novas

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The Origin - Ad Novas

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Historical sources kept in great part in the Biblioteca Malatestiana of Cesena (Cesena's main Library) and archaeological research give evidence of a Roman village in Cesenatico. The first ceramic fragments found in Cesenatico have spurred studies and research, until Bruno Ballerin decided together with the Town Council and the Archaeological Superintendence to promote new excavations. The most recent excavations are the ones from 2004. Among the most important findings there were the Roman kilns, found in Ca' Turci, in the Fornari estate, to the left of the "canale di Bonificazione". The kilns from Ca' Turci were used to make amphorae with a long pointed tip, to make them suitable to stowage and consequently, transport.

The oldest findings of this research date back to the 2nd-1st Century B.C., and refer to a small centre from the Republican age, which, according to some historians, could be the Tabernae Cossutianae. Even if such denomination remains a hypothesis, the presence of a small village is anyway confirmed by archaeological findings. Big sections of wall have been found, which, thanks to the material building characteristics (pozzolana (1) and bricks) has allowed to identify it dating back to the 2nd and 1st Century B.C.. One first evidence is found in a letter written in 44 B.C. by Quintus Tullius Cicero, brother of the celebrated orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, during the designation of the land to the consuls. With a rather sarcastic tone, Quintus Tullius assigns the Tabernae Cossutianae to the consul Pansa, to whom he was not very fond of. Actually, the old Taverne di Cossuzio indicated a smaller centre, of minor strategic importance, a simple settlement where people stopped to change horses. The exact location of this place hasn't yet been established with accuracy by archaeological research and even if the presence of a "tavern" indicates a primitive way of hospitality preceding modern hotels, it is not possible to say exactly if the hospitality tradition of Cesenatico could date back to this period.

Another finding, dated from the 1st to the 4th Century A.D., offers the proof of a settlement of the Imperial period, which, according to some scholars, could correspond to the location called Ad Novas in old testaments.

An interesting mention of Ad Novas that has made scholars debate for a long time is the one found in the famous Tabula Peutingeriana (Peutinger Table). It is a parchment from the 13th Century, kept in the National Library of Vienna (a copy of the Roman original) which replicates an old road map where all the military roads from the Roman Empire are marked.

The Peutinger map shows also the Via Consolare Popilia, founded in 132 B.C. by the consul L. Popilus Laenas which is believed by some scholars to be the Via del Confine, and by some others to be the Strada Statale Adriatica. Ad Novas is indicated on the map more or less in the middle of the road between Rimini and Ravenna.

The name Ad Novas is kept in the Liber Pontificalis of the bishop Andrea Agnello, an important source of the High Middle Ages. In this text, Ad Novas is mentioned three times: in the first, Agnello tells that the inhabitants of Classe went to meet the just appointed bishop Pietro Seniore, "from Cervia to Nova"; the second mention says that in the 8th Century, the city of Ravenna ordered "Sarsina vigilant, Cesena watch the sea for weapons from Cervia to Nova"; and the third indication tells that in the 9th Century the bishop Martino, travelling towards Rome, stopped "near Nova, where it was once a city, now destroyed". After these, the name Ad Novas is not found in any other document.
Still today, it is not clear if Ad Novas corresponds to the current Cesenatico or to another location in the region.
The Antiquarian of Cesenatico  offers and interesting documentation of Roman findings from archaeological excavations, including several ceramic objects, coins, weights and some valuable statues.

A. Cocchi.

Trad.: A. Sturmer

1) A porous variety of volcanic tuff or ash used in making hydraulic cement.


F. Santucci, Cesenatico, da porto di Cesena a Comune Edizioni Il ponte vecchio, Cesena, 1995
D. Gnola, Storia di Cesenatico Edizioni Il ponte vecchio, Cesena, 2001
D. Gnola, Cesenatico nella storia Edizioni Il ponte vecchio Cesena, 2008
M. MARINI CALVANI (a cura di), Schede di Archeologia dell'Emilia-Romagna, Bologna 1995
B. FARFANETI, Cesenatico romana. Archeologia e territorio, Ravenna 2000
C. Dondi Il porto di Cesenatico lo pensÚ Leonardo?


Tags:A. Cocchi, A. Sturmer, Ad Novas, archaeology, tourism, .

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