The treasure that Vasto didn't know it had
and struggles to accept

The famous snowfall of 1956 deprived Vasto of the Church of San Pietro, which was demolished due to the landslide that caused the collapse of the Lame walls. At the same time, it bestowed upon the city an archaeological treasure that it otherwise would have never known to possess.

Beneath the convent of the Franciscan friars, next to the church of Sant’Antonio, the demolition works carried out a few years later led to the discovery of a mosaic measuring approximately 38 square meters, depicting marine scenes with fish, octopuses, dolphins, and a sea tiger similar to those found in the Roman Baths of Ostia Antica.

Subsequent excavation work in 1997 uncovered a mosaic measuring 170 square meters featuring tritons, sea nymphs, and, most notably, a large depiction of the god Neptune with his trident and a dolphin in his hands. The excavations also revealed other service rooms, technical structures, and an inscription that allowed dating the arrangement of the baths to a period after the earthquake that had damaged them in 346 AD.

Today, the site, excavated to an area of 250 square meters but extending beneath the Church of San Pietro and the Arena delle Grazie, represents the largest Roman thermal complex in southeastern Italy.

The Neptune mosaic, situated at the highest level, was the flooring of the cold pool, the frigidarium, while the mosaic of the marine scene was likely the floor of the heated area, the calidarium. Both mosaics, featuring figures created with black tesserae on a white background, exhibit Hellenistic taste and are likely of Mediterranean origin, possibly from North Africa.

Today, the mosaics and other areas can be visited in the evening during the summer season or by request to the Italian National Trust (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), the association responsible for managing the monument.

The Roman Baths are in our itinerary:


The proposed stages:

Area riservata

Schede infografiche


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