Managing urban discontinuity in central pre-Roman Italy

FRIDAY 11 MAY 2018, 14.30–19.00

Managing urban discontinuity in central pre-Roman Italy

Workshop organised by Maria Cristina Biella (Sapienza—Universita di Roma)

The town of Calcata (VT), built on a tufa hill in the Parco Regionale della Valle del Treja, in ancient times was a part of the Faliscan settlement of Narce and was inhabited since then also in the Medieval and Modern Periods. The town underwent a dramatic change in the course of the last century.

Following the Messina earthquake in 1908 some borghi were declared unsafe by the Italian State and in 1935 their demolition was decreed. Calcata was on that list and therefore the inhabitants were requested to abandon the town and move to a neighbouring area in which the new Calcata had to be built. Notwithstanding this decision the old town was never destroyed, did not die out, and at the beginning of the ‘60s of the last century a new era began for it, when a community of artists settled there. Since then the two communities – the one of Calcata Vecchia and the one of Calcata Nuova – live together, although not without problems, under the jurisdiction of the same Comune.

The exhibition “Testimoni del tempo che fu: un reportage fotografico sulle trasformazioni del paesaggio antico lungo la valle del Treja, da Narce a Calcata”, in which the BSR is involved with the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti, Paesaggio per l’area metropolitana di Roma, la Provincia di Viterbo e l’Etruria Meridionale and the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, intends to analyse the process of continuity and discontinuity between the two settlements from many points of view (geographical, physical, social, …).

The Calcata case can be considered an interesting starting point to analyse the also recently debated and not always linear phenomenon of urban continuity-discontinuity in a wider perspective. As a matter of fact, the 1935 decree was the official written source and according to it Calcata should exist no more. But the reality of facts tells us a completely different story of complex and multifaceted continuity. Using this example as a starting point, in the workshop we intend to tackle the issue of continuity-discontinuity of urban forms in ancient times, creating a fruitful dialogue between historical and archaeological sources and with a particular focus on central pre-Roman Italy, where at least two very meaningful cases of (official) discontinuity can be recognised as a consequence of the military events of 264 and 241 BC: Falerii and Volsinii.