The Archaeological Park of Aeclanum is a place of historical and archaeological interest located in the hamlet of Passo di Mirabella, in the Municipality of Mirabella Eclano.
The site overlooks the Via Appia, the so-called "Regina Viarum", the road linking Rome to Brindisi, on the stretch of which the remains of the imposing bridge known as the "broken bridge" are still visible between Benevento and Mirabella Eclano.
The archaeological park is obviously linked to the events of Aeclanum, founded by the Samnite tribe of the Hirpini, around the end of the 3rd century BC. According to the historian Appian, its first fortification was made of wood and was burnt down by the dictator Silla in 89 BC during the social war against Marius. Later, around 87 BC, the walls were rebuilt at the same time as the establishment of the municipium with voting rights and enrolment in the Cornelia tribe. Its decline is linked to the arrival of the Lombards in 570 and it was finally destroyed in 662 by Emperor Constant II of Byzantium, on his way to besiege the Lombard Benevento.
In the first half of the 20th century, the first archaeological excavations were carried out that brought to light the remains and traces of buildings dating back to the imperial period. The remains of the Roman city consisting of the public baths, located on a small hill, the covered market square (macellum) and some houses and shops are preserved in the Archaeological Park of Aeclanum, in an area of about 18 hectares.
Traces of the fortifications are also visible, consisting of walls about 10 metres high, made of opus reticulatum composed of travertine prisms and interrupted by at least three gates and towers of different sizes.
Finally, the construction of an early Christian basilica dates back to late antiquity. The remains of this basilica, which are still visible, date back to the age of Emperor Justinian and suggest the presence of a baptismal font in the shape of a Greek cross with steps for the immersion ritual.
A site of great historical and archaeological importance, the Archaeological Park of Aeclanum bears witness to the civilisation and culture of a settlement of considerable strategic importance in classical times.
Parco Archeologico di Aeclanum
Località Passo di Mirabella, 83036, Mirabella Eclano AV, Italia