Sutri is little town in the province of Viterbo and around 40 Km from Capena.
It is located on big tuffaceous cliff along the historic Roman road Cassia.
It is an extremely beautiful and ancient town scattered with archeological sites: a Roman amphitheatre, an Etruscan necropolis, an ancient mithraeum later converted in a Catholic church and an elegant Romanesque Duomo. The perfect place for a relaxing and interesting day out.
Its foundation is not clear; someone attributes it to the sailing population of the Pelasgians, another legend says it was created by the ancient Roman God Saturn, now depicted on the city logo riding a horse.
The city was inhabited by the Etruscan population that converted it in an important commercial centre and was then later conquered by the Romans during their expansion.
Probably thank to its strategic position (midway between Viterbo and Rome), it has often been historically an important location: it has been involved in the wars between Langobards and Byzantines, it was the venue venue for the Council and pope election of 1016ac, it was conquered by the French at the end of the 18th century and then given finally back to the papal state.
Most of the archaeological sites are inside a park. One of the most interesting, is, without any doubts, the Roman amphitheatre, carved into the tuffaceous hill. It was found by the local population only in 17th century. It has an elliptic shape, with three flights of steps and various decorative structure, such as statues ad columns. It can seat up to 5000 people!
Among the other magnificent architecture samples this city has to offer, is also the Etruscan necropolis.
64 tombs are still visible although some of them have been, in the past, looted and even used as stables. The tombs preserved are of various style; rectangular, single or double chambers and arched ones. Some of them are also characterized by the presence of niches that used to contain the urns.
Its location, along the via Cassia, make it easy to find, and the unspoilt nature around it creates a peaceful and calming atmosphere.No questions why the Etruscan had chosen this site for the beloved to rest.
Another place not to be missed is the mithraeum, the ancient temple dedicated to Mithra. It dates back to the I century A.C. but has then been used for Christian rites when the pagan rites were abandoned. The frescoes are still beautifully preserved and they date back from the 16th century.
On top of these fascinating pieces of ancient art, the city still conserves part of the medieval walls and the big Duomo is also worth a visit in the charming historic centre, where you will also find plenty of places to stop by for lunch.
Note: Pictures are courtesy of www.settemuse.it