Ferento: Roman Ruins in Northern Lazio

The ruins of Roman Ferento, ancient Forentum, lie about 9.2 km from Viterbo in northern Lazio along the road to Civita di Bagnoreggio. A roadside attraction, you can see the excavations of the theater (complete enough to host summer theater), Roman baths, and the major roman road, the Decumanus maximus by stopping your car alongside the theater and entering the excavations after paying a voluntary fee of 5 euro to the archaeological club that keeps the site clean and maintained for visitors. The excavation is but a very small portion of the whole Roman city.

Why Visit Ferento and What to See

  • It’s easy to get to from Viterbo, which you should visit or make a base for discovery of the area. There are many Etruscan tombs near Viterbo.
  • It’s easy to park when there isn’t an event, like the summer theater season. Just pull up and park beside the ruins.
  • Major attractions: the Roman theater, the Roman baths, and the Roman road, the Decumanus maximus.

Pictures of the Major Attractions in Ferento

roman theater ferento
Ferento: The Roman Theater
roman baths ferento
Ferento: The Roman Baths
ferento decumanus maximus roman road
Section of the Decumanus Maximus in Ferento, showing wagon ruts.

How to Get to Ferrento from Viterbo

Take the SS5 north out of Viterbo, following the signs to the strada Ferento. Drive until you see the ruins just off to the left. Park along the road. Along the way to Ferento, you’ll pass Acquarossa, named after the rusty color of the water due to a high iron content. Acquarossa was the Etruscan site very near Ferento that flourished between c. 700 BCE – c. 500 BCE, and then was destroyed and abandoned. The site isn’t well-maintained, but there are some interesting waterfalls in the area that take on the orange-red color of the water from the streams feeding them.

You can walk this distance in about 2 hours, but walking along the SS5 isn’t really advisable.

The Odd tale of the Etruscan and Roman Sarcophagi

I advise a trip to the Civic Museum in Viterbo, where there are some interesting finds from Ferento, including sarcophagi from the Etruscans and how the Romans tried to adapt the Etruscan style—and by the looks of it failed miserably. The pictures below show a sarcophagus of a major figure and one of a less-funded man.

roman sarcophagus
Sarcophagus of an important man
roman sarcophagus
Sarcophagus of a lesser man

This is how the museum plaque describes the situation:

We are at Ferentum, by now a Roman town, from where these sarcophagi come. They all belong to members of the town’s most important family, the SALVI.
Just think, the most famous of them even became Roman Emperor, although only for a few months, following the death of Nero in 69 A.D.
Look at these sarcophagi made from nenfro stone, and you’ll see that they are not very well-made. In fact, you’ll note the badly proportioned and coarsely modelled bodies that barely show the reclining position of the banqueter, but seem to want to escape from the embrace of the tuff in which they are sculpted.
The only sarcophagus made the traditional shape and size is that of Aulus Salvus Crispinus, quadrumvir four times in Roman Ferentum, an important man for the town who arranged that on his death a public banquet would be offered to his fellow citizens.
Follow me into the exhibition’s next room…you’ll see something else new.

Enjoy your visit to Ferento.

More on the Region of Lazio

Villa Farnese, Caprarola

Castel d'Asso Etruscan Tombs

Ciociaria: A Land of Ancient Silences

Calcata Vecchia and the Holy Foreskin

Sinuous Waters of Acqua Rossa

Ferento: Roman Ruins in Northern Lazio originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Nov 19, 2022 © .

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