South of the Tino di Moscona - the hill on whose slopes stands the village of Roselle - there is Poggio Cavallo. Up north is the ancient settlement of Rusellae. It is just 13 Km away, on SS223 in the direction of Siena. The digs, along with those of Vetulonia, are an important archaeological destination for all those who love Etruscan and Roman history.

A ring of coast landings surrounded the area that was to become the Grosseto plain centuries later: the Spolverino port, Alberese, Poggio Cavolo (Grancia), Poggio Cavallo, Istia d'Ombrone, Roselle, Vetulonia, Salebrum (now Castiglione della Pescaia). In this context, Roselle was a strategic sea port, with Vetulonia on the other side of the bay.

Three layers of history mark the most significant phases of the town’s development: the Etruscan, Roman and medieval ages. Roselle was a merchant and craftsmen town with many shops and a remarkable production of bucchero-style ceramics: the famous black Etruscan vases with figures were made with this technique.

The Etruscan Roselle was founded in the seventh century BC, a little later than other cities of Etruria, perhaps at a time when Vetulonia was beginning to lose its supremacy. A peculiar oval structure with a fence that may have been a sanctuary as the numerous votive offerings found seem to indicate, dates back to the 7th century.

In 6th century Roselle grew significantly. The cyclopean walls that are still visible and were recently restored date back to that period. A house from the same period stands on the hill up north. It is one of the richest and most advanced dwellings with a courtyard and an impluvium to collect water, typical structures of later Roman houses.

The typical Roman construction style had to be adapted to the shape of the hills on which the town was built, so that the cardo and the decumanus are not at right angles as one would expect.

After a first period of decline, during the imperial age the Romans turned Roselle into a monumental city with paved streets, a forum, the basilica, the baths and the amphitheatre. With its peculiar rhomboidal shape, it still has excellent acoustics and is still used as a venue for theatre. The domus on the south hill with its mosaics and the area of the temples are not to be missed.

Find the archaeological park with the Roselle digs in Roselle(Nomadelfia) on State Road 223 in the direction of Siena. You might be interested to know that a Roman villa was brought to light at this exact location during the construction of the new road. Work stopped and it was necessary to build a large ramp with a wall to avoid destroying the findings. The villa is visible presently, it is located near the exit to the Roselle digs.

Here are some lecture notes that you can use as a guide, with insights into the history and buildings of ancient Roselle for you to download and print.

Visiting hours: November - February: 9.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. | March - October: 9.00 a.m. - 7.30 p.m.
Admission tickets: Adults: €4.00 | Reduced rate: €2.00 (18 - 25 year olds) | Free admission (under 18 and over 65).
Contact info: Tel.: +39 0564 402403

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