Velleia Romana

Some people exaggerate and call it the Pompeii of the North of Italy. We know for sure that Velleia, or Veleia, an ancient Roman city in Val del Chero, in the municipality of Lugagnano Val d'Arda, was discovered gradually. The first excavations began around 1760, after which the first and most important artefact of the site was found in 1747: the Tabula Alimentaria Traiana, the largest bronze inscribed tablet from ancient Rome - one and a half metres wide and three metres tall.

Velleia was founded in the second century BC and declared a free city in 42 AD; it flourished during the imperial period and its slow decline coincided with the end of ancient Rome. Archaeological excavations have unearthed artefacts of numerous buildings, from the spa to the tunnel paved in sandstone, from the basilica to the cistern for collecting water.

Velleia Romana is one of the most important archaeological sites of Emilia-Romagna, and yet, in spite of its value, often snubbed by mass tourism. This treasure trove of ancient surprises has been promoted in recent years with trips and the organisation of the Festival of Ancient Theatre: each year, in July, the ruins in Velleia serve as the stage for dramas, Latin and Greek comedies and tragedies.