The ancient town of Ardea can be found in the province of Roma, some 35km south of the city of Rome itself and very close to the Italian coast.
Ardea City Guide
The Via Ardeatina, one of the famous consular roads in the days of the Empire, was named after Ardea.
In the times before the Empire Ardea was an important town and the capital of the Rutuli. It was conquered by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the Etruscan king of Rome. Later it became autonomous, but lost this autonomy after the Second Punic War.
From the 3rd century BC until the 9th century AD Ardea lost most of its population, but in the following centuries it became an important city again and was often fought over by several feudal barons.
In 1816 the city became a frazione of Genzano. The area was drained in the 20th century and in 1970 Ardea became an independent municipality.
Nowadays it is an agricultural center, though industry is playing an increasingly important part in Ardea’s economy. Ardea has around 35,000 inhabitants
Ardea tourist attractions
- The ancient (7th century BC) defensive agger, which was later (4th century BC) enlarged.
- Four temples dating back to the 5th century BC in a cultural area dedicated to the Sun-Moon divinity.
- The area of the ancient Forum contains the pavement of a basilica (100BC).
- Church of Santa Marina (1191), commissioned by Cencio Savelli, who was to become Pope Honorius II.
- 12th century Church of San Pietro Apostolo, a Romanesque church, which was owned by the monks of the San Paolo Fuori le Mura (Saint Paul’s Outside The Walls) church in Rome itself. Its former watchtower was turned into a bell tower. The frescoes stem from the 14th, and the wooden crucifix, from the 16th century.
- Tor San Lorenzo is both the name of a tower and the name of the frazione of Ardea where it can be found. It was reconstructed in 1570 after a design by Michelangelo, at the site of a former Paleo-Christian church.
- The Cristiano Ipogeo Oratory.
- The Giacomo Manzù Museum exhibits 461 works of the sculptor. It was the artist himself who donated the sculptures to the state.
- The Giardini della Landriana, in the Tor San Lorenzo frazione of Ardea, were designed by Russell Page in the 1960s.
- Lavinia Taverna, another garden.
- The Palazzo Sforza-Cesarini.