Monterinaldo stands on three hills in the valley between the river Aso and Ete, and between the Adriatic Sea and the Monti Sibillini. The village overlooks the magnificent surroundings, from the hilltop to the sea. The town gates and walls surround the medieval historical centre, where it is possible to admire the main square with the Civic Tower and Palazzo Giustiniani.
The archaeology area “La Cuma”
The archaeology area “La Cuma” is located on the northern side of the valley of the Aso, at 350m above sea level, halfway the former zone of “La Cuma”, which is surrounded by the Castelletta trench to the east, and by the St. Lucy trench to the west.
The archaeological findings were discovered by chance after some agricultural works back in 1957. Archaeological excavations were carried out between 1958 and 1960. In 1958, right when the archaeological site was opened, the archaeologists found the ruins of a sanctuary that dated back to the late republican age of the 1st and 2nd Century B.C. i.e. two parallel arcades. The inner arcade is made by Ionic-Italic columns, while the outside one has Doric columns. Each exquisite capital of the arcades is very well preserved. Right in front of the arcade were found the foundations of a temple in addition to another structure that was probably a place of worship. The temple had without any doubt a Tuscan order façade, while it is unknown the deity or the deities to which the temple was originally dedicated.
It is possible that it used to be a place for the religious rites of the sanatio, a doctrine dedicated to the worship of the water and usually to the cult of a goddess that was adored by the pilgrims seeking for healing. This theory is backed by the findings of votive offerings that are currently preserved in the museum.
These votive offerings represented anatomical parts, mostly hands and feet, which the pilgrims used to donate to the deity in order to receive healing to the corresponding part of their bodies.
Another theory stresses the relation between the sanctuary and the lost city of Novana, as mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, with other cities that today still exist.
The monumental building complex was built on an artificial terrace dug on the west side of the hill and delimited by an enclosing wall of the monumental arcade that also used to retain the terrace itself.
Furthermore, many traces of the architectural décor were found in the area i.e. terracotta with several coating tablets, simas, curtains, frames within several free-standing sculptures that used to decorate the façade’s gable and that are currently displayed at the Municipal Archaeological Museum of Monte Rinaldo.
Among these sculptures were found some heads that can be compared to the ones found near the Pergamon Altair.
Municipal Archaeological Museum
The Municipal Archaeological Museum is located in the former Church of the S.S. Crocifisso, in Via Crocifisso, owned by the Municipality of Monte Rinaldo.
The church was erected during the first half of the 18th Century and then rebuilt in 1662. It was formerly known as Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, and, earlier on, Church of St. Flaviano. The building is today well preserved. It is a typical Romanic-style church, it presents great sandstone blocks on its façade that almost certainly belonged to a retaining wall of the archaeological area. The church also presents three stucco altars in Baroque style in addition to an exquisite wooden altar, entirely carved in gilt wood.
Since 2008 the Museum displays a fine collection of archaeological findings that were discovered in the close archaeological site, the so called “La Cuma”, in which there are the monumental ruins of a sanctuary that dates back to the late republican age. Its territory and environment are extremely interesting, thus making the area an ideal place to discover our cultural heritage.
The museum also exhibits the tablets that coated the architrave, the pitch coating, the heads of the beams, the antefixes, and the decorations of the gable. It is among the decorations of the gable that stands out a coating tablet with the relief of a bird on a floral composition. While all the other coating tablets were decorated with a mould, the latter is definitely hand decorated in addition to several antefixes where are represented the characters of Hercules and Potnia Theron, the mistress of the animals.
Among the findings that originally decorated the gable of the temple there are several male and female heads, fragments of drapery and limbs of excellent artistic quality whose style reminds of the Asia Minor’s Baroque artworks. The itinerary of the exhibition has been skilfully designed to provide the visitors with a comprehensive glance of the strict relation between the findings and their original location.
It is interesting to underline the presence of some ceramics that date back to different periods, such as dishes, furnishing and cups, among the which there is one dedicated to Jupiter, which might have a relation with the temple itself.
Furthermore, there are two roman coins, one of the which of Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus (91-90 B.C.), an Esquiline-style colourless lantern, bronze fibulas, terracotta statues representing female figures, roof tiles that present the signature of their maker and several anatomical parts that were votive donations for the deities. The museum also displays some original elements of the polychrome paintings that used to cover the temple’s coatings, thus underlining its ancient magnificence.
Many Summer events take place in Monte Rinaldo, such as “The golden capital”, a singing competition dedicated to the children, theatre plays made by the association TAU that are performed on the fascinating scenario of the roman sanctuary “La Cuma”, live concerts and wine and food festivals, such as the steak and mutton festival. Over the past few autumns there is an event called Archeologia e tipicità (Archaeology and typical products) where there are flea markets, stands where to taste the local cuisine, shows and entertainment.
Afternoon from 2:30PM to 4:30PM
1 November, Sunday
Afternoon from 2:30PM to 4:30PM
Every Sunday and 25 April, Monday
Afternoon from 4:00PM to 6:00PM
Afternoon from 4:00PM to 6:00PM
Località “La Cuma” – Contrada Aso
Museo Civico Archeologico
Chiesa del Crocifisso – Via Crocifisso
63852 Monte Rinaldo